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NRF Announces 15th Annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award Honorees

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Newport, RI – The 15th annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards will recognize two recent projects for their contributions to preserving Newport’s architectural heritage and historic character. The awards will be presented at a celebration, both virtually and in-person, on Friday, September 10, 2021.

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

St. John’s Masonry Preservation (1894), Poplar Street, Newport, RI – Awarded to Father Nathan Humphrey; recognized for the preservation of a historic church located in the Point Neighborhood. The structure was originally built in 1894, when Sarah Titus Zabriskie heard of a young church founded by Peter Quire, an African American, named St. John’s that was in financial straits. Zabriskie donated $100,000 toward the building of the Zabriskie Memorial Church for St. John’s in memory of her late mother, Sarah Jane Zabriskie. The interior wall surfaces at St. John’s Church were damaged from decades of water intrusion. In 2019, the root causes of the deterioration, leaking roofs and gutters, were addressed with a roof repair utilizing both historic and new roof tiles, snow guards, gutters, and flashing. However, the next area of concern was the masonry walls, which were deteriorating, especially at the mortar joints. A repointing process removed and replaced deteriorated mortar, restoring the visual and physical integrity of the masonry. From the color and texture of mortar to the tools used in the repair, the masonry work is both physically and visually appropriate. Through their steadfast commitment to honoring the history of the building, St. John’s continues to carry on the legacies of Peter Quire and Sarah Titus Zabriskie’s to this day.

Henrietta Lieber House (1882), Rhode Island Avenue, Newport, RI – Awarded to Mr. Hendrik and Mrs. Siobhan Kits van Heyningen for their exterior restoration of the late-19th century Shingle Style/Queen Anne house in the Kay-Catherine-Old Beach National Register Historic District. The 1882 house was originally designed by Newport architect, Dudley Newton. The home had been in the Kits van Heyningen family since the mid-1960s, but had fallen into disrepair for years after being abandoned following the passing of Hendrik’s grandparents. The Kits van Heyningens took on the home, and researched and reproduced the character-defining details that have now restored the house to a presentation closely matching its original. Highlights of the project included restoring the second-floor balcony on the front elevation (extended in the 1970s) back to its original size, matching custom mahogany trim to replace rotted and damaged pieces, and recreating missing balusters, railings, and corbels on the porch to match their original design. Single pane, historic-replica sashes for four windows were also fabricated to recreate the original 30-over-1 style. After extensive work and care, this restoration contributes to the preservation of the Kay-Catherine-Old Beach historic district and its late-19th century architecture for many more generations to enjoy.

“The 2021 Doris Duke Preservation Awards demonstrate the important role private restoration projects play in the overall preservation of Newport’s historic landscape,” said NRF’s Director of Preservation, Alyssa Lozupone. “The attention to detail and dedication to preservation best practices demonstrated by the awardees should be an example to all.”

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards have raised over $650,000 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, 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.

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for individuals and organizations to lend support to this event, which is NRF’s largest annual fundraiser. Each level of support includes exclusive opportunities and perks like special experiences, museum tickets, and much more. Visit to learn more about sponsorship and how to join the celebration on Friday, September 10.

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