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New shelter for homeless veterans

September 1, 2012

Gerry Millette, project superintendent at Nation Wide Construction of Woonsocket, is busy refurbishing an old Victorian mansion at 492 South Main St., which will become a residence for homeless veterans. Photo/Ernest A. Brown

WOONSOCKET – A picturesque Victorian in the Globe section will become a new shelter for homeless male war veterans this fall.
Listed on the National and Rhode Island Registers of Historic Places as the Himes Getchell House, the 2½-story dwelling at 492 South Main St. was built in 1875 and will be rechristened the Ballou Harris House when it opens this fall, said Frank DiMaio of the Fogarty Center in North Providence.
The name pays homage to two of the city’s most prominent citizens during the era of the home’s construction, industrialist Edward Harris and Latimer Ballou. Both were also noteworthy abolitionists who helped persuade Abraham Lincoln to make Woonsocket a campaign stop in 1860 during his bid for the presidency.
“We kind of wanted to make it personal,” said DiMaio. “It’s a homegrown appropriateness and I think everybody will take to that.”
The project is the brainchild of the Ocean State Consortium at the Fogarty Center in Providence, which provides an assortment of support programs for veterans. DiMaio, the project manager, said he became familiar with the property many years ago while he was working for the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.

Read more in our print edition.

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