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State Survey: Overview

looff carousel
Looff Carousel (c. 1895), one of the many historic resources documented by the East Providence survey.

The state survey locates, records, and evaluates Rhode Island's historic places. Beginning in 1967, the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission surveyed the entire land area of the state to record historic structures and sites.

Field surveyors photographed properties and described their physical characteristics on data sheets. They also added notes on history, use, and general condition. Researchers studied primary and secondary sources to prepare a short history of the physical development of each community, so that individual properties could be evaluated within the context of the community's growth.

The RIHPHC published a series of illustrated survey publications which include the history of each community and a list of important historical places. These booklets are available at local government offices and libraries throughout the state. All of the survey publications are now available for download.

To find out if your property is included in the state survey, email Jeffrey Emidy or call him at (401)222-4134.