Preserving historic buildings

Fri, 05/21/2021 - 1:15pm

To the Editor

Last week’s Block Island Times ran a front page story about the Captain Willis House (circa 1877). The Captain Willis House will be torn down and replaced with a larger home. Block Island is certainly well known for its pristine beaches, boating, and preserved land. However, we would contend that historic buildings are just as significant and precious to Block Island.
For those that own, there comes a feeling of gratification knowing that it is your turn to be the steward of a home or building as it moves through history.
Scenic Block Island has been hard at work placing historic plaques on older homes and buildings all over the island. SBI researches historic land records to find the original owners of buildings and displays that name on each historic plaque hung. Current titleholders are another name added to that building’s long history.
Our goal is to bring attention and honor these buildings; many are well over 150 years old and have survived the great “Hurricane of ‘38.” Scenic Block Island has placed nearly 100 plaques on iconic island homes and buildings with the help of many proud owners. Stopping for a moment to read a plaques affords you a connection to Block Island’s historic past and to offer a nod to a structure that has survived a century or two.
It is our hope that others feel the same and explore all avenues of preservation before taking that final step – the demolition of an historic building.

Scenic Block Island