In January of 2011, following a winter storm with wind gusts reaching 90 miles-per-hour, the Spring House Pump House had received such significant damage that it was determined that it should be taken down. In the months preceding that time, a group of concerned people had mounted an effort to save the Pump House and rebuild it but the storm sealed its fate.
Subsequently, Scenic Block Island took on the challenge of raising funds to build an exact replica of the Pump House on the land where it originally stood. Also involved in that effort were Pam Gasner, Doug Gilpin, Peter Greenman, Chuck McMellon, Bob Newhouse, Ray Torrey, Mark Vaillencourt and Bryan Wilson. Many concerned people donated to the project and the effort was also supported by The Block Island Historical Society, the Historic District Commission, Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and Preserve Rhode Island.
Eventually, the Land Trust hired an environmental engineering firm to study the safety of the site. Their work revealed that the east side bluff of the pond adjacent to the Pump House was eroding making the site unsafe to build on. At that point, the effort to rebuild the Pump House was abandoned.
The actual spring and pump house had been part of Block Island history for well over a century and it was one of the many reasons that Scenic Block Island exists –- to preserve our historic buildings and viewsheds and to apply a sense of this preservation to the entire Island.
In the spring of 2018, Scenic Block Island will place a marker on the corner of Spring Street where the Spring House Pump House stood. The plaque will remind those who stop to read it that the building that once stood there was a part of the history and fiber of Block Island. See a mockup of the plaque to be installed.
First-time and repeat visitors and Island residents alike are smitten by the fact that there is simply nowhere else like Block Island. Stepping off the ferry you journey back in time and there is a sense of serenity that comes from the historic hotels, modest farmhouses, rolling hills, hidden ponds, beaches and stone walls. It is just that feeling that Scenic Block Island seeks to preserve.