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158 Bowen Street, detail

Advocacy Alert: 21 Planet Street


TAKE ACTION WITH US! Donate to PPS so we can continue advocating for Welcome Arnold House and our other Most Endangered Properties:

PPS is fighting to raise awareness about the proposed demolition of the historic Welcome Arnold House at 21 Planet Street. This kind of activism requires resources to cover staff time, communications tools, and more. Your gift in any amount will help reach our $2,500 goal and get the word out to protect this rare city treasure!

Welcome Arnold3
21 Planet Street as of June 28, 2017 (credit: Peter Michel)

The Welcome Arnold House, located at 21 Planet Street (follow the link for more photos and a house history), made the Most Endangered Properties List in 2017. It has been neglected for years and is now vacant and boarded up. On May 19, 2017, its owner submitted an application to the Providence Historic District Commission to demolish it, on the grounds that the structure is so badly deteriorated that demolition is the only option.  According to Blount Bennett Architects who were hired by the owner to renovate the house in 2016, “the interior is unsafe for occupants or laborers due to years of renovation, rot, and insect infestation.”  However, the 2016 inspection done by the City of Providence cites “over-stressing of the structure due to excessive demolition of the interior structures” as the main reason for the unusual sagging of the building.

The house was built in 1785 for the young merchant and ship owner Welcome Arnold, a prominent figure in 18th century Providence. Many of Welcome Arnold’s business associates and personal friends were involved in the planning of the Gaspee Affair, and Welcome Arnold himself was rumored to have been involved in at least the planning of the attack.

The exterior of the house is deteriorating rapidly after months of exposure to the elements without sufficient maintenance. It has also been the victim of graffiti and vandalism which can be seen on the front and rear of the house. Without intervention, the condition of the Welcome Arnold House will continue to decline, and this piece of Providence’s history may be lost forever.  Based on our research on this property we have concluded that there are viable alternatives to demolition. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for updates and more information. We have been working to raise public awareness of this issue to gain support in the broader Providence community.

The application for demolition will be heard at a future meeting of the Providence Historic District Commission. The public will be encouraged to attend and give testimony. We will be updating our Facebook page when this issue is scheduled for a meeting. Until then, one way to get involved is to write the City Preservation Planner, Jason Martin, with a statement of concern regarding the potential demolition of the Welcome Arnold House, by email at   or by sending a letter addressed to:

 Providence Historic District Commission  

Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building

Department of Planning & Development

444 Westminster Street, Suite 3A

Providence, RI 02903-3215