Though it has remained relatively vacant for the last few decades, the Valentine Whitman House is a historic gem not only to Lincoln, but the entire state – one that will soon be given a new life, thanks to Preserve Rhode Island.
Located along Great Road, the Valentine Whitman House (circa 1696) is one of the state’s only remaining stone ender structures, a style unique to Rhode Island marked by
one wall made up entirely of a stone chimney. The property was purchased by the Town of Lincoln in 1991 after threats of demolition. Volunteers have taken care of the house ever since.
As of July 15, the house transferred ownership from the town of Lincoln to Preserve Rhode Island, a nonprofit organization with the goal of preserving history in the state. In a groundbreaking ceremony on the property, representatives from Preserve Rhode Island and Heritage Restoration Inc. shared plans for the complete rehabilitation of the property. Their goal is to transform the house into an active residence or one available for vacation stays.
The rehabilitation project includes extensive repairs and the installation of modern features, all while preserving its historic, 17th century character. President of Heritage Restoration Rob Cagnetta says, “We are honored to have been selected to rehabilitate the Valentine Whitman House and be part of this remarkable 17th century building’s history. These needed repairs will set the property on the course for its next 300 years.”
While an exciting undertaking for the historic home, this rehabilitation has been a long time coming. Without significant funding, in addition to economic consequences of the pandemic, the future of historic properties is not always guaranteed.
“Preserve Rhode Island is proud to help municipalities navigate these complicated choices, finding new life for historic properties and preserving their historic significance while ensuring their usefulness for generations to come,” says Valerie Tamage, executive director of Preserve Rhode Island. “With this change in ownership, the historically important Valentine Whitman House is guaranteed to be part of Rhode Island’s landscape for
generations to come.”
The town of Lincoln also anticipates a bright future for this historic property. “The town is grateful that Preserve Rhode Island agreed to take on the stewardship of the Valentine Whitman House,” says Keith Macksoud, president of the Lincoln Town Council. “We’re delighted that they will invest in the rehabilitation of this historic place, restoring it to good condition to be preserved for the future.”