We are the Pawtuxet Valley's
Reference and Research Center since 1976
Located in the historic Crompton Library, The PVPHS's mission is to preserve the history of, and promote public knowledge and interest in the Pawtuxet Valley.
We are one of RI's foremost
archival and research centers.
FInd out how you can help!
Slate of Officers for 2022-2023
President: Jerry Tellier, Jr.
Vice President: Royal Pacheco
Recording Secretary: Frank Ford
Cecilia St. Jean and Bob Chorney
Board of Directors:
In the fall of 1976, a small group of Pawtuxet Valley residents gathered to form the Pawtuxet Valley Preservation and Historical Society (PVPHS). Although its first meetings were held in members' homes, the organization rapidly attracted more interest and grew in membership, forcing it to seek church halls and other larger accommodations for its monthly meetings and programs of historical interest.
Once the PVPHS decided to rent space on Weaver Street in Arctic Village, donations of books, photographs, documents, and artifacts soon crowded the small space. That was only the beginning of the Society's present collection of thousands of documents and artifacts accessible to the public.
In 1993, PVPHS negotiated a lease with the Town of West Warwick for the use of the historic Crompton Library, which was built in 1876 by the Crompton Company as a library for the "Velvet Village". In 1945 the library was deeded over to the town. Today, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The edifice continues to serve the PVPHS as its headquarters and welcomes the public to visit either for research or to browse its intriguing collection of memorabilia of life in the Pawtuxet Valley
The Society has enjoyed a wide range of success and recognition since its inception in 1976, including citations in numerous publications of its document and artifact collection.
In 1999, the Crompton Library building was bestowed a historic preservation award by the Rhode Island Preservation and Heritage Commission. In 2011, the Commission presented the Antoinette Downing Award to one of our longtime members for lifetime achievement in historic preservation.
Also in 2011, PVPHS' Cemetery Committee became the fifth organization in Rhode Island to repair and preserve tombstone and burial sites, while becoming a participant in a network consortium with the National Park Service in Blackstone Valley, in northern Rhode Island.
The Pawtuxet Valley Historian has long been considered one of the finest historical society newsletters in Rhode Island, offering its members intriguing articles and pieces of local historical interest, as well as keeping its members updated on PVPHS happenings and events throughout the year.
The Pawtuxet Valley Preservation and Historical Society is the place to be for many different types of historically-themed events: walks in the village of Phenix; and in Anthony Village, Coventry (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places), as well as other sites. A self-guided tour booklet of the villages of West Warwick, which includes a cd and map is also available.
The Society has participated in such national events as the Smithsonian Museum Day, held during September.
At PVPHS' annual banquet in June, the Society bestows a plaque recognizing a historically significant building or site which has been preserved to its historical integrity. Past winners include: the Gorton Menard Funeral Home (former Byron Read Mansion, Coventry); St Mary's Church (oldest continual Roman Catholic Parish in Rhode Island); Lippitt Mill (one of the oldest existing mills in America), and the LeValley homestead (oldest building in West Warwick, dating to 1722)
PVPHS holds monthly membership meetings at the West Warwick Senior Citizens Center every fourth Monday, for eight months of the year, during which speakers present programs of historical interest. This is open to the public.
In October a Potluck Supper is held. In December an annual tradition is an Open House Christmas Tea in celebration of the holidays.
The Crompton Library contains thousands of documents and artifacts of Pawtuxet Valley life, including numerous books and binders on different people, organizations and topics relating to the Pawtuxet Valley, dating back to the 19th century.
More specifically, the PVPHS offers one of two existing sets of the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner, a weekly publication from 1876 to 1906; vital information relating to military, fire, and police records; local textile industry data; births, deaths and marriage records; local church information; Pawtuxet Valley directories; as well as hundreds of historic photographs.
Many of PVPHS' records go back to the late 1800s, when the local textile industry thrived in the West Warwick/Coventry area; and Arctic Village was a mercantile hub to western Rhode Island.