National Register Districts
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list maintained by the National Parks Service of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. To see if a property in Rhode Island is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, go to www.ri.gov.
Providence currently has 35 National Register Historic Districts, a testament to the rich architectural history of the city. In the past several years, PPS has worked on three National Register nominations: the Summit Avenue Historic District, the Elmgrove Gardens Historic District, and the Wayland Historic District. These three nominations added over 900 properties to the National Register, allowing property owners to participate in the state tax credit program.
What it Means to be on the National Register
Properties listed in the National Register are eligible to participate in tax credit programs for the exterior restoration of historic properties and may be eligible for low-interest loans. Income-producing properties are eligible for the Federal Tax Credit (20%). This program is administered by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), the State’s Historic Preservation Office. For more information on the National Register and state tax credit programs, please visit www.preservation.ri.gov.
All owners of National Register properties may consult with the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission's staff for free advice about protecting the value of their historic places. Listing on the National Register is a great honor for a property, but it does not guarantee that the property will never be damaged or demolished. National Register listing provides protection only when public funds or government licenses are involved.
Protection for Historic Properties
Many properties within National Register Districts in Providence are also contained within Local Historic Districts. These districts provide protection for historic resources. In 1960, the city created the Providence Historic District Commission (PHDC) to protect the unique physical character, historic fabric, and visual identity of the city. Providence's local historic districts are established as overlay zoning districts. There are eight local historic districts in Providence, containing a total of approximately 2,500 properties. The PHDC regulates development in designated Local Historic Districts by acting as a design review body. The PHDC has authority to approve or deny proposed exterior work to any property located within the local historic districts. Local Historic Districts can contain residential, commercial, religious, educational, industrial, governmental, and civic buildings, in addition to other structures and open spaces. To see if a property is located within a local historic district, click here.