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NRF Announces 13th Annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award Honorees

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Meaghan Barry
401–846–4152, x 112 /

Newport, RI— The 13th annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards will recognize four recent projects for their contributions to preserving Newport’s architectural heritage and historic character. The awards will be presented on Friday, September 6, 2019 at a celebration at Rough Point, the Newport home of preservationist and philanthropist Doris Duke.

The Doris Duke Preservation Awards are a collaboration of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) and the City of Newport. The awards recognize and celebrate restoration and rehabilitation projects that preserve 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:

23 Hammersmith Road (1887), Newport, RI, Awarded to Linda and Rocky Kempenaar; recognized for the rehabilitation of a nineteenth-century utilitarian out-building. The building was originally constructed in 1887 as a horse barn to support the larger Wild Moor Estate. Until its purchase by the Kempenaars in 2016, the property had been used as storage space and had never been fully utilized as a modern, residential structure. Highlights of the rehabilitation included upgrading mechanical systems to meet modern building codes and restoring historic windows, doors, radiators, and woodwork throughout the house. The Kempenaars’ goal for the rehabilitation was to demonstrate the adaptive reuse potential of utilitarian buildings and bring light to the network of outbuildings associated with historic Newport estates.

Restmere (1857), Restmere Terrace, Middletown, RI, Awarded to Cheryl Hackett and John Grosvenor; recognized for rehabilitating a 10,000 square-foot dilapidated mansion originally designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn in 1857 for Alexander Van Rensselaer. The homeowners designed a rehabilitation plan that qualified for federal historic tax credits and, in so doing, preserved the building’s architectural integrity, documented the site’s history, and ensured the house would be economically sustainable for future stewards. Exterior restoration included painting, roof replacement, and historic wood window restoration. Interior restoration included repairing original cracked plaster walls and water-damaged ceilings, refinishing hardwood flooring, rebuilding fireplace hearths, and upgrading systems. Today, Restmere stands as an example of Richard Upjohn’s Italianate resort-style vernacular and is home to over 160 years of Rhode Island’s architectural, social, military, music, and Civil Rights history.

St. Columba’s Lych Gate (1897), Vaucluse Avenue, Middletown, RI, Awarded to St. Columba’s Chapel; recognized for restoring a rare American lych gate, a feature which traditionally serves as the entrance to an English churchyard. St. Columba’s timber framed lych gate was designed by prominent Gothic Revival architect Henry Vaughan, supervising architect of the Washington National Cathedral. Recently it was discovered that extensive damage by insects and other animals had affected both the appearance and the structural integrity of the Chapel’s iconic gate. The restoration work included in-kind replacement of the gate’s sculpted sill beams and roof shingles as well as leveling the stone floor and staining the entire structure. With its completion this past May, the project increases the beauty of St. Columba’s campus, served as the impetus for a Historic Preservation Trust campaign, and grants future generations the ability to enjoy St. Columba’s just as Newport residents in their carriages did one hundred years ago.

Vinland Ironwork (1880), Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI, Awarded to Salve Regina University; recognized for the restoration of the University’s cast- and wrought-iron fencing along Shepard and Ochre Point Avenues. The fencing was originally part of the Vinland Estate built by Peabody & Stearns in 1881-83, which was then gifted to the University in 1955. The project included foundry replication and casting of fence posts, panels, and piping that were damaged beyond repair as well as the return of fencing that had previously been removed from the original site. Protective measures, such as the installation of new curb stops along Shepard Avenue, were also taken to ensure the continued preservation of the historic fencing. The project was supported by a grant from the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, and now allows the fence to continue to be a focal point for students, faculty, and staff as they move about campus as well as visitors who regularly stroll along Ochre Point Avenue.

“The 2019 Doris Duke Preservation Awardees are a reminder that preserving Aquidneck Island’s heritage is a community-wide endeavor achieved through efforts that vary in size, capacity, and resource type,” said Alyssa Lozupone, NRF’s Director of Preservation. “From a modest yet character-defining Lych Gate to top-to-bottom residential rehabilitations to restoration of a prominent streetscape feature, this year’s awardees demonstrate that preservation takes many different forms that all ultimately have a positive public benefit. The Newport Restoration Foundation looks forward to joining the City of Newport in celebrating these outstanding preservation projects on September 6th.”

Since its inception 13 years ago, the Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards have raised nearly half a million dollars to support historic preservation in Newport. This signature celebration recognizes 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 and restoration of structures and landscapes. The Awards, which provide support to NRF’s continued efforts in advancing historic preservation activities, are named in her honor.

To date, support for the 2019 Doris Duke Preservation Awards has been provided by:

Platinum Sponsorship: Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Berkowitz, III, Edith McBean, Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince, James H. Ross

Gold Sponsorship: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel M. Mencoff

Silver Sponsorship (Doris Duke Circle): Dory and Dan Benson, Mrs. James J. Coleman, Jr., DBVW Architects, Exquisite Events, Bob and Wini Galkin Fund, Mr. John D. Harris II and Ms. Linda Sawyer, Ms. Stefani Hulitar, Juliette Clagett McLennan, Slocum, Gordon & Co. LLP

Bronze Sponsorship: Dr. Holly M. Bannister and Mr. Douglas L. Newhouse, Bowen’s Wharf Co., Inc., Kim and Glenn Darden, D.F. Dwyer Insurance Agency, Maia Farish, Home & Commercial Security, Inc., Iconic Vault, Lila Delman Real Estate, Victoria and Joe Mele, George and Susan Petrovas, John and Linda Purdy, Sandra Liotus Lighting Design, LLC

Patron Sponsorship: Advanced Alarm Systems, Inc., Lynne and Armin Allen, M. Therese Antone, RSM, Aquaguard, Citrin Cooperman & Co., LLP, Mr. and Mrs. George G. Herrick, Hilb Group New England, Ivy Wealth Management, Don and Jana Jagoe, Christine MacDonald, Philip C. Marshall, PEAK Event Services, Preservation Society of Newport County, Mrs. Federick H. Prince, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Rothe, Salve Regina University, Diana Pearson Scheetz, Major General and Mrs. Stephen R. Seiter

Tickets are available for purchase online at

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