In the Town of Coventry, Rhode Island, the Historic Preservation Commission recently held a meeting on December 16, 2021. The meeting, attended by commission members and guest speaker Mr. Munir, focused on the examination of historic properties in the town. This article will delve into the key points discussed during the meeting and shed light on Coventry’s rich history.
Understanding Coventry’s Historic Properties
The meeting began with a roll call of attendees, including Paul St. Allman, Maureen Buffy, Aaron Brewster, Simplico, and guest Sandy Milkowitz. The question of reviewing the minutes from previous meetings was raised, and it was unanimously agreed upon to accept the minutes from the last month.
The main agenda of the evening was to explore Coventry’s historic properties. Mr. Munir, an expert in computer mapping and data management, had undertaken a project to digitize and analyze the town’s historic properties. He shared his background and experience, spanning over 56 years, in the field of computer mapping and GIS (Geographic Information Systems).
To gather data on the historic properties in Coventry, Mr. Munir utilized the resources provided by the Rhode Island GIS website, righteous.org. This website houses an extensive collection of maps and data that can be downloaded and used for various purposes. Mr. Munir used the data from righteous.org to create a comprehensive computer map of Coventry’s historic properties.
The Survey of Historic Properties
Mr. Munir mentioned that he used a survey conducted in 1978 as a starting point for his project. The survey had identified 191 historic properties in Coventry, but the information was in manual form and lacked accuracy. Mr. Munir took on the task of digitizing the survey data and refining the maps to accurately pinpoint the locations of the properties.
He explained that his project involved a fair amount of fieldwork to track down the properties and gather additional information. Despite the challenges, Mr. Munir was able to map out 191 significant properties in Coventry, with only a few missing or demolished buildings.
Coventry’s Historic Districts
During the meeting, Mr. Munir showcased the different historic districts within Coventry. These districts, though not officially recognized as such, represent areas where people historically concentrated. The districts include Rice City, Coventry Center, Western Coventry, Washington, Anthony and Kwidnik, Arkwright, Harris, Green, Summit, and Hopkins Hollow. Each district has its own unique history and significance.
Mr. Munir emphasized the importance of expanding the inventory of historic resources in Coventry. He proposed adding more properties to the list, particularly those built before 1900, that were not included in the original survey. Using the town’s assessor database, he identified 675 buildings that were over 120 years old and could potentially be considered for inclusion in the inventory.
By combining the data from righteous.org and the assessor database, Mr. Munir created an accurate representation of Coventry’s historic properties. This data could serve as a valuable resource for future preservation efforts and decision-making.
Visualizing Coventry’s Growth
One of the highlights of the meeting was a time-lapse presentation created by Mr. Munir. Using the tax assessor’s indication of the year each building was built, he showcased the growth of Coventry from the 1700s to the present in 25-year increments. Each dot represented a building constructed during that specific time period.
The presentation revealed that Coventry’s growth was relatively uniform across the town, except for a surge in mill villages during the mid-1800s. The increase in the number of buildings during this period was attributed to the construction of mill houses in the eastern part of Coventry.
Evaluating Different Building Types
Taking a closer look at the data, Mr. Munir analyzed the types of buildings that were prevalent throughout Coventry’s history. He listed the top 20 most common building types identified in the assessor’s database, including Cape, Colonial, Conventional, Two-Family Mill Houses, Three-Family, Four-Family, Bungalows, Contemporary, Ranches, and Raised Ranches.
Notably, the construction of two-family mill houses peaked in the late 1800s, while bungalows and ranches emerged later in Coventry’s history.
Conclusion: Preserving Coventry’s History
The Town of Coventry’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting shed light on the rich historical heritage of Coventry. Thanks to the diligent work of computer mapping expert Mr. Munir, the town now has a comprehensive computer map of its historic properties, spanning nearly three centuries.
The meeting discussed the significance of expanding the inventory of historic resources and emphasized the need for ongoing preservation efforts. The data gathered from the survey and the assessor database will be crucial for future decision-making and planning in Coventry.
As the town moves forward, it is essential to recognize the importance of preserving and protecting Coventry’s historic properties. By doing so, the town can honor its past and create a future that appreciates and values its unique heritage.