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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. 

The home is situated on a narrow lot with the main entrance on the side of the house away from the street. It is a contributing element to the College Hill National register district and the College Hill local historic district. When it was built, it was just up the hill from the Sabin Tavern, owned by the Arnold family for more than a century. It may have been built to house the Arnold’s large family, servants or guests. It is a lone reminder of a once fashionable 18th century neighborhood along South Main Street.

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. The owner decided to restore rather than demolish the house.

Exterior work began on the house in 2016, but abruptly halted. In the following months, broken windows and doors were left unrepaired, exposing the interior to the elements. After several neighbors voiced their concern, the bottom floor was secured. Further pressure caused the City to force the owner to secure the entire house. In 2018, the owner continued restoring the house. However, the result was that all materials, other than the basic historic framing timbers, were removed. There is little left of the historic house. Some materials were rescued by Bob Burke for use elsewhere.

Related Works:

“Who is Welcome Arnold, and why all the fuss about his house?” an article on the Welcome Arnold House, by Sarah Gleason

    K says:

    Awfully sad this is what happened! I lived there and I remember discovering a secret basement I didn’t know was there. With a working organ from 1900…like phantom of the opera. What is it with short sighted developers they are pennywise dollar poor. Could’ve been a priceless bnb or house. Stone fireplace was early 1700s according to local plumber (and they know historic buildings). Worse.. There were old trees and a small graveyard with the family tomb stones behind the house. I looked at aerial imagery through the years and I see they paved it. 🙁 Mr Golden… Poor decision

    J says:

    Dear K,

    Do you have any photographs of the house and property from when you lived there you’d be willing to share? I often spend hours wandering the beautiful old neighborhoods of Providence in my spare time, and it saddens me deeply seeing a once-beautiful old house now sitting in disrepair.

    Thank you for your story–these anecdotes attach so much humanity to the history of this town

    Yours truly,
    A student a lifelong lover of architecture

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