How is this possible? New to the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List is the Welcome Arnold House on Planet Street off Benefit. The PPS site has several views of the house. Given its location, it’s incredible that this wasn’t scooped up and restored years ago.
The Welcome Arnold House was built in 1785 in the federal style. This 2.5 story house features an open gable roof with modillion detailing. Welcome Arnold was a well-known merchant and ship owner in Providence during the 18th century, who lived in the house until his passing in 1798.
Unfortunately, the present owners seem to have plans for the property that may not include this charming and historic structure. It’s . . . complicated.
In 2015, an application was put forth to rezone the property from a R-2 to C-2 residential zone which would allow more dwelling unit density. This petition was vetoed by the City Planning Commission (CPC) with recommendations, but still recommended the application be pushed forward to be approved by the City Council. If this proposal moves forward, the house may potentially be demolished.
In addition to being a successful merchant, Welcome Arnold was a revolutionary privateer and probably one of the players in the Gaspee Affair, which occurred in 1772, 13 years before this house was built. Lots more at Gaspee.org.