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Newport Restoration Foundation Announces 16th Annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award Honorees

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Alexa Waluk

For the first time, the annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards recognizes a record five projects for their significant contributions to the preservation of Newport’s architectural heritage and historic character.

The Doris Duke Preservation Awards are a collaboration of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) and the City of Newport. The awards celebrate individuals for preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects and educational activities that help to protect the historic sites, landscapes, and overall character of Aquidneck Island. The award winners were chosen by a jury comprised of representatives from the Newport Restoration Foundation, the City of Newport, and individuals involved in historic preservation at the local and state levels.

This year, NRF recognizes the following projects:

Christopher Townsend House (1725), Bridge Street, Newport, RI- Awarded to Karen Weber and Andy Segal for the exterior restoration and elevation of their home. The building was the first to follow the City of Newport’s guidelines for elevating historic buildings in the face of rising sea levels. This property sits at the lowest point in the historic Point neighborhood and has a history of flooding. Hurricane Sandy, storm water runoff, and high tides all caused significant flooding of the basement and first floor.

Midcliff (1886), Ruggles Avenue, Newport, RI- Awarded to Kirby Perkins Construction and Susan and George Petrovas for the exterior restoration of their Queen Anne Victorian-style home – Midcliff – originally designed by Peabody & Stearns. The project included the replacement of the failed modern roofing, flashings, chimney restorations, removal of multiple lead-based paint layers, and replication of original trim and siding details.

Rise to Redemption Walking Tours, Sankofa Community Connection, Newport, RI – Awarded to Niko Merritt for the development of an interactive walking tour that offers a look into the lives of Newport’s community of African heritage in the 18th century. The tour was developed in 2016 in response to the Black community’s lack of representation in Newport’s history. The tour goes beyond the typically discussed topics of enslavement and the European slave trade to humanize African heritage and clear up historical inaccuracies. The tour focuses on two individuals, Duchess and John Quamino, who fought for their freedom and became influential members of Newport society and highlights individuals who fought for the education and freedom of the Black community.

Serpentine Path, Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI- Awarded to The Preservation Society of Newport County for the landscape rehabilitation at The Breakers. The project expanded public access to the grounds and created a 1,500-foot-long path around the property from the Shepard Avenue gate on the north side to the Cliff Walk in the southeast corner. The path is part of a multi-phase plan to restore The Breakers’ 13-acre grounds.

Trevett School (1809), Third Street, Newport, RI – Awarded to Michael Terra for the exterior restoration and belfry reconstruction. The school was originally built by Eleazer Trevett on Barney Street, before being moved to Cherry Street, and finally to Third Street. The belfry was intact for the moves from Barney and Cherry Streets. However, the foundation had deteriorated significantly, requiring the building to be raised for foundation repairs. Significant care was taken to replicate the original belfry and preserve the original character of the school.

“NRF is excited to acknowledge a record number of projects that represent the breadth of preservation activities on Aquidneck Island,” said NRF’s Director of Preservation, Alyssa Lozupone. “The vision, detail, and dedication to preservation best practices demonstrated by the awardees should serve as an inspiration to all.”

Since its inception 16 years ago, the Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards has recognized members of our community who have embodied Doris Duke’s vision of protecting Newport’s architectural heritage and who have made significant contributions to the preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of historic structures and landscapes. The Awards, which provide support to NRF’s continued efforts in advancing historic preservation activities, are named in her honor.

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