Historic Building Marker Program
Historic places have the power to carry truth from the past to the future.
Our historic building marker program began in 1983 and since then we have identified many residential, commercial, and civic buildings as being important to the history of Pawtucket.
The program objectives are:
To identify and recognize historically and architecturally significant structures
To raise public awareness of, and appreciation for, said structures
To encourage historically sensitive changes to existing structures in the City of Pawtucket
This is a voluntary program which does not carry any regulations or restrictions.
Though historically appropriate materials and features do contribute to the overall eligibility of a building, they are not the only qualifying factors. The marker recognizes a building’s significance; it does not determine eligibility for the local historic district (which is managed by the City’s Historic District Commission).
Any building or structure located in the City that contributes to the architectural or historic character of the City will be considered. The exterior of all structures reviewed by the Committee for recognition will be evaluated by the following criteria:
Historical Relevance – connection to an historical event, person, or to an economic, social, or cultural trend in Pawtucket
Date of Construction
Architectural Significance and Integrity
Possibility of Jeopardy – whether the property or structure is threatened by neglect, environmental factors, vandalism, or demolition
Contribution to the Neighborhood
1. Building owners will submit an application, accompanied by information such as:
Year built and architectural style
Significant changes, renovations, or improvements
Photos of the exterior only
A statement of how the building meets any of the above criteria for eligibility
2. Applications must be submitted by July 15. Applications and supporting materials may be sent by mail or email (the addresses are below). Applications will be reviewed by the board of directors and decisions will be made by mid-September. New plaques will be delivered in November.
3. Approved applicants will be notified and arrangements will be made to order the plaques. The cost of each plaque is $200.00. Do not send money with the application; we will request it when ordering the plaque.
We know it is often difficult to find information about buildings, and in many cases, there is very little to discover. Places to begin your research are in the City Clerk’s Office, the city directories (the Pawtucket Library has these), and an online search of the Pawtucket Library Digital Newspapers.
Here is a slideshow of buildings that currently have plaques.
Do you need permission to renovate your house?
The plaques from the Heritage Alliance/Preservation Society do not have any restrictions or benefits attached to them. If you have a plaque on your house, you don’t need our permission to change anything. If your house is in the Local Historic District (i.e. you get a historic house tax rebate from the city), then you need to contact the Historic District Commission about your plans. The house being “historic” does not alone determine whether it is part of the historic district. An owner of the house would have had to apply for this status. If you are not getting the tax rebate (call the tax assessor’s office if you aren’t sure), your house is not officially “historic” and you don’t need permission to change it. Getting a plaque and applying for historic status are two completely separate processes with two separate groups.
Our historic building plaque program was started in 1983, and since then every plaque has been made by the same man. We are grateful to Russ Gendolfe for his craftsmanship and his dedication to the program. Here is a bit of information about how Russ came to be our plaque maker. When the Preservation Society of Pawtucket decided to begin a marker program for historic buildings, they wanted the plaques to be made of cast aluminum, which required the use of a foundry. A notice was published in the local newspapers to find an artisan who could make the plaques. Russ answered the call, despite not being associated with a foundry at the time. He was a valve designer for a local company and had a general understanding of how aluminum castings were designed and produced, so he talked with a friend who worked in a foundry and planned to make a pattern for the casting mold. Just before Russ was to start the work, his friend’s business was sold, and Russ was left on his own to figure out how to make the mold for the plaques and begin casting them. It took a long time, but he eventually finished the pattern for the plaques that now hang on many historic houses all around the city. One of the very first that he made was for the Hose Company No. 6, the former 1895 fire station on Central Avenue. Russ has made a total of 136 marker plaques.