For over forty years, Newport, Rhode Island has sought to preserve much of the city's historic architecture through a local preservation by-law. The work of the Newport Historic District Commission, comprised of volunteer residents appointed by the local city council, has dominated the city's historic preservation values and approach. Not uncommon to many preservation efforts, the emphasis has been almost exclusively on aesthetic rather than contextual values, and has resulted in local practice and preferences that often overlook the associative significance of local historic and cultural resources. This paper seeks to examine the genesis and impact of this approach to historic preservation efforts in Newport.

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