Sale of Spaulding House in Pawtucket includes easement protection

PAWTUCKET – A landmarked Pawtucket house is under permanent protection thanks to an easement held by Preserve Rhode Island.

A historic preservation easement was secured April 4 for the James Spaulding House, a Federal-style cottage in Pawtucket’s Quality Hill neighborhood.

The Preservation Society of Pawtucket sold the 191-year-old house for $199,000 the next day, PSP President Barbara Zdravesky said.

The price reflects the easement attached to it, which was expected to limit the number of people interested in the property, she added.

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“We wanted to make it affordable for the right person,” Zdravesky said.

The easement protects the house from development, requires its owners to maintain the building and adhere to historic preservation standards, and preserves its exterior and some interior features, including a sweeping entryway staircase leading to the second floor.

“It is the most beautiful staircase, it’s original and really feels like it’s going to speak to the history of the property and the future of the property,” Valerie Talmage, PRI’s executive director, said.

The home’s new owners told local preservationists that they are excited to live in it, Talmage added.

After struggling to operate the house as a meeting place and Airbnb rental for five years, Pawtucket’s preservation society opted to protect it with an easement and sell it to private owners.

Money from the sale will reimburse the preservation society for easement preparation and sale costs, and add to PRI’s easement stewardship fund. The remainder will be split between the Preservation Society of Pawtucket and the Pawtucket Public Library to maintain Betty Johnson’s history research collection.

The Spaulding House, at 30 Fruit St., was built by cabinetmaker Joseph Spaulding in 1828. It is considered an example of Pawtucket’s early architectural history, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Alexander M. Haines & Bradley W. Widner are listed as the property’s future landowners, according to property records.

Elizabeth Graham is PBN staff writer. You can email her at