Party Like It’s 1929

Providence Preservation Society’s Winter Bash celebrates 15 years with a speakeasy soiree


Dust off your pin-striped suit and break out the ol’ Flapper Dictionary because The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) hosts their award-winning Winter Bash at the historic American Locomotive Company (ALCO) on March 3. Now in its 15th year, the event revisits the sparkle of the Roaring Twenties with a theme that pays homage to bootleggers, silent film stars, gangsters, and other cultural influences of the era.

In its final stages of renovation by The Foundry Associates, ALCO has a significant history as a hub for innovative technologies. Between 1906 and 1913, the ALCO plant produced powerful cars and trucks, including the “Black Beast,” considered a top race car in its day. The company was the third largest automobile manufacturer in the country before the plant was taken over by US Rubber in 1918. It’s a fitting event space considering the influence of the locomotive industry, fast cars, and other technological shifts in American society.

The Winter Bash began in 2003 as a fundraising opportunity for PPS’s mission: saving significant historic spaces through contemplative planning and development. PPS’s 2008 bash was also held at ALCO, which means this year’s partygoers can observe the rehabilitation of the space over the last ten years and PPS’s progress in its mission. “It’s a true milestone in Providence’s ongoing preservation story,” says PPS Director of Advancement Sarah Santos.

This year’s proceeds will go toward educational programs, including walking tours and workshops, as well as programs such as the Planning and Architectural Review Committee, the Historic Property Marker Program, and the Most Endangered Properties List, which at one point included The Arcade and the Foundry.