of Jamestown, Rhode Island
Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission 1995
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Preparation of this publication has been funded in part by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. The contents and opinions herein, however, do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior.
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission receives federal funds from the National Park Service. Regulations of the United States Department of the Interior strictly prohibit discrimination in departmental federally assisted programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, or handicap. Any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to: Director, Equal Opportunity Program, United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013--7127.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Jamestown's Location and Population
- Conanicut's Geology and Landforms
- Historical Development
- Native Americans
- Jamestown's Settlement
- Agricultural Prosperity in the Eighteenth Century
- Agricultural Decline
- Summer Visitors and Other Newcomers
- Ferry Services
- Conanicut Park
- East Ferry Development
- Development of the South End of the Island
- Hotels & Boarding Houses
- Jamestown Village
- Shoreby Hill
- Farming and Fishing
- Newcomers and Population Growth and Changes
- The Twentieth Century
- The State Register and the National Register of Historic Places
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The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, established by the General Assembly in 1968, is charged with administering programs which help to safeguard Rhode Island's cultural heritage. To provide an overview of the physical record of this heritage, the Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission initiated historical and architectural surveys of each community in the state. The purpose of this survey is to identify and record properties of historic and architectural significance in each community. Presently, archaeological resources are treated in a separate survey effort. The surveys are designed to identify districts, structures, and sites eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, and suggest priorities for historic preservation activities.
Upon completion of each survey, a brief report is written. The resulting documentation provides essential information for local, state, and federal preservation planning.
The following preliminary study covers the historical and architectural resources of the town of Jamestown. The report includes a description of the town's physical and social context in the first section and an account of Jamestown's historical development in the second section. The third section is a list of properties in Jamestown which are listed in or suggested for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. At the end of the report is an annotated inventory of some properties of historical and architectural importance in the town.
The preliminary survey of Jamestown was accomplished by driving all public rights-of-way and noting on a map each building or site of particular architectural, visual, cultural, or historic significance. Each property was then photographed and recorded on a standard data sheet which includes a physical description and notations concerning history, use, condition, and architectural style (as applicable). During the survey, the significance of each property was evaluated in a preliminary fashion. Following completion of the survey and research, a further evaluation placed properties in one of three categories: properties already on (or determined by the federal government to be eligible for nomination to) the National Register of Historic Places; properties recommended for nomination to the Register; and other properties which upon further study may be found to be eligible for the Register. Archeological sites are mentioned only incidentally in these studies to provide historical context. The major emphasis of the Jamestown survey and report is on extant historic buildings. The data sheets from this survey are stored at the office of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, 150 Benefit Street, Providence 02903.
The Jamestown survey was begun in the summer of 1975 by James Gibbs, of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission staff. In 1980 the Jamestown survey became a joint project of the Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and the Jamestown Historical Society. The island's historical resources were surveyed again in the early 1980s by David Chase and Walter Nebiker, and field work has been carried on occasionally since then, most recently during the summer of 1988 with Professor William Jordy of Brown University. This report was written by Walter Nebiker; David Chase wrote many of the inventory entries, particularly for those properties built after 1850. Information about the archaeological resources of Jamestown is included in some sections of this report to provide needed context, but Jamestown's archaeological sites are so numerous and significant that they cannot be treated fully here. Some modern buildings are included, again to provide context, but this report focuses on historic resources.
Research was conducted at several libraries, principally the Rhode Island Historical Society Library. Nineteenth-century were especially useful in providing information and insights about the growth and development of Jamestown Village and other parts of Conanicut. Readily available sources of information, such as town and county histories, census and other reports, gazetteers, guidebooks, and newspaper and travel accounts were examined; they provided most of the information used in this report and are listed in the bibliography.
Information especially useful to this report was provided by Mrs. Mary R. Miner in conversations, and through notes and manuscripts, published and unpublished.
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission gratefully acknowledges the contributions to the Jamestown survey and report by a large number of contributors, principally the members of the Jamestown Historical Society, which began a town wide survey in 1980 to amplify the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission survey of 1975. In addition to providing additional survey sheets and photos, the Society supplied much historical information on individual properties for both surveys. Of the 160 properties recorded by Jamestown Historical Society, 112 are included in the inventory of this report. Of the several dozen buildings whose architects are identified, Jamestown Historical Society provided the information for 37.
Jamestown Historical Society members assisting in this project include Mary B. Harding, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Reynolds, Mrs. Karl B. Smith, Jr., Eleanor H. Hendry, Margaretta Potter, Linda Brodin, Anna B. Crowell, Martha Grieg, and William Burgin. The research notes of Mary Louise Haas were helpful. Sue Maden's postcard history of Jamestown, an interesting and informative account of the island that presents houses, places, and views as they appeared earlier in the century, was very helpful. The Commission thanks Elizabeth Beaumont for adding to the history of the Watson family on Jamestown; Anne Zettek for providing genealogical information on summer residents of the Ocean Highlands-Walcott Avenue area; and Walter Schroder for reviewing material on Jamestown's defenses. Dutch Island was visited through the cooperation of Jillian Barber.
The text of this report was reviewed by Mrs. Mary R. Miner and other members of the Jamestown Historical Society; Bertram Lippincott III, of the Newport Historical Society; Richard Champlin of Newport's Redwood Library; and by Lisa Pointek and Robert W. Sutton, for the Town of Jamestown. The Commission is grateful for all their contributions.
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission is especially grateful for the assistance and guidance of Mrs. Mary R. Miner on this survey report. Mrs. Miner's own work as a scholar of Jamestown history, as a leader of the Jamestown Historical Society and the Town of Jamestown, and as a leader in the preservation movement are well known. She shared her own research with the authors of this report and generously permitted them to use the results of her work. In addition, Mrs. Miner reviewed several drafts of this report, providing additions, corrections, and useful insights. Many of the entries in the inventory section of this report have been corrected, clarified, and amplified by Mrs. Miner. The authors and the Commission thank Mrs. Miner for her time, effort, and interest in this project.
JAMESTOWN'S LOCATION AND POPULATION
Jamestown occupies all of Conanicut Island in the middle of Narragansett Bay, and is part of Newport County. Providence is about 17 miles to the north. The west passage of Narragansett Bay separates Jamestown from the towns of North Kingstown and Narragansett to the west, while the east passage is located between Jamestown and the communities of Portsmouth, Middletown, and Newport to the east. The distance across the waters of the east and west passages is generally between one-and-a-half to two miles.
The shortest distance between Jamestown and the opposite shore occurs at the Dumplings, at the southeastern end of the island, where the east passage is only six-tenths of a mile wide. This strategic site was fortified throughout much of Jamestown's history. The open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, known here as Block Island Sound, wash the rugged southern shores of Jamestown.
Conanicut is a long narrow island extending about nine miles in a north-south direction; the east-west dimension is only about a mile. The 9.7 square-mile island is comprised of two parts. The larger northern section is about seven miles long; the smaller section, about three-miles long, known as Beaver Neck, ends at Beavertail Point at the ocean. Connecting these two parts is a low-lying sand bar, about one-eighth of a mile long and about 100 yards wide.
Two nearby islands--52-acre Gould Island, in the east passage, and 110-acre Dutch Island, in the west passage--are part of the town of Jamestown. The sites of once-active military establishments, they are both uninhabited today.
In 1980, 4,028 people lived in Jamestown. The 1990 population was 4,999, a population density of 515 per square mile. The pressure of increasing population on the land continues. More than half the population lives in a cluster that extends north and south of Narragansett Avenue between the east and west passages. A secondary cluster of houses, known as Jamestown Shores, located near the Jamestown Bridge, is a densely-settled community. Former summer colonies such as Conanicut Park, Shoreby Hill, and Jamestown Shores are now largely year-round neighborhoods. Seasonal dwellings are scattered throughout the island, with the largest concentration in the Ocean Highlands-Walcott Avenue area. Their owners swell Jamestown's population during the summer months.
Agricultural Windmill Hill is one of the most sparsely-settled parts of the island. Beaver Neck and the northern part of the island, north of Eldred Avenue, until recently relatively sparsely populated, have been subject to heavy development in the past two decades.
CONANICUT'S GEOLOGY & LANDFORMS
Conanicut Island lies in the center of the southern part of the Narragansett Basin, a 60-by-18-mile lowland of gentle relief that extends from the ocean northward into Massachusetts. In an east-west direction it includes all the waters of the Bay and the adjacent shores of some mainland Rhode Island towns. The basin, estimated to be about 200 million years old, was formed during the coal age, known to geologists as the Pennsylvanian period. Into a depression, or down-folded trough, sedimentary deposits of gravel, sand, and mud accumulated on a floor of igneous and metaphoric rocks. In swampy areas, thick layers of plants were accumulated. Later, under the pressure of deep layers of sediments and folding or compression of the earth's surface, the sediments were transformed into sedimentary and metaphoric rocks--sandstone, shale, slate, and conglomerate. Plant forms were compressed with the sedimentary layers, creating the many imprints of leaves, stems, and trunks of plants that are found in the rock formations today. Thick accumulations of plants were transformed into coal. Igneous activity--hot, molten rock formed deep below the earth's surface--intruded or entered rocks near the surface, forming bands, or dikes, of varying thickness, the most noteworthy and conspicuous of which is "White Streak," a three-foot wide band in the cliffs near Fort Wetherill.
Following millions of years of geological activity, of tremendous internal forces, several vast continental ice sheets blanketed the surface of northern North America, extending south over today's Rhode Island. These thick masses of ice, moving southward at an infinitely slow pace, scoured the land over which they passed, rounding sharp hill and mountain summits and deepening narrow valleys. Vast quantities of surface material, ranging in size from enormous boulders to gravel, sand, and clay, were scooped up, then deposited in varying amounts over the land.
The ice sheet, estimated to be at least a mile thick in places, remained over Rhode Island until about 11,000 years ago, gradually melting away as the climate ameliorated. Plant life, and the animal life it nourished, reclaimed the barren land. As the forest grew, it too softened the contours of the land.
Most of Conanicut Island is underlain by sedimentary rock, mostly extremely fissile soft shales which have weathered into low hills on smoothly rounded slopes. The highest elevation on the island is only about 135 feet above sea level. There are few exposures of bedrock on the island, but at Beavertail weathering and wave action have uncovered folds of shale and sandstone and basaltic dikes. At the south end of the main part of Conanicut, where sedimentary rocks were intruded by igneous rocks (granite) and became more erosion resistant, is an area of rougher topography with low, rocky hills and a rugged shore with precipitous cliffs, coves, rocky promontories, and outlying islands, or reefs. The sea-shore interface here is, along with the rocky southern shore of Aquidneck Island, the most dramatic in Rhode Island.
The actions of past geological and glaciological forces, and Conanicut's beautiful setting in the waters of Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, particularly along the island's southern coast, have produced a variety of beautiful natural areas, which were surveyed and described in Seavey's study of Rhode Island's Coastal Natural Areas and which have been acquired by the State of Rhode Island and included in its park system, including the Bay Islands Park.
For thousands of years before the first Europeans set eyes on the land around Narragansett Bay it was the home of Native Americans. The first contact between the bay area's native inhabitants and Europeans occurred during a brief visit by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1514. A century later the Dutch established New Amsterdam at today's New York City, then extended their sphere of influence eastward along the coast and into Narragansett Bay. Dutch Island was a place of trade for Dutch traders and Native Americans for about 20 years.
European settlers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony settled the northern part of Aquidneck Island in 1638 and in the following year started a community at Newport. Newporters leased the rich meadows on several islands in the lower bay for grazing, and sheep were introduced. In 1657 Conanicut Island and adjacent Dutch and Gould Islands were purchased from several Narragansett sachems. After Conanicut was divided among the proprietors, farms were laid out. Ferry service was established linking Conanicut with Newport to the east and the Rhode Island mainland to the west, and a road connecting the ferry landings was laid out across the island.
By 1700 Jamestown shared the prosperity and much of the way of life of the large farmers on the mainland and the residents of Newport. Conanicut's farmers and their slaves raised cattle and sheep, which, with their by-products, especially cheese, found ready markets along the east coast and in the islands of the West Indies, largely through the port of Newport. Jamestown's age of commercial agriculture continued until the onset of the Revolutionary War, when British forces abruptly shattered the island's tranquility. On December 10, 1775, a British contingent wreaked destruction along and near the ferry road and confiscated livestock. Many islanders fled to the mainland until the British occupation of Newport ended in 1779. Following the war, the island's population grew again, and Conanicut enjoyed a long period of rural tranquility.
While most of Rhode Island was experiencing the tumult of the Industrial Revolution, Jamestown, with no adequate waterway, remained an agricultural island. Although no water-powered mills were ever established on the island, strong and steady winds supplied power for a mill which ground corn into meal. With an economy based largely on sheep, much of the island remained open farmland, mostly pasture, for several centuries. The eastern ferry landing supported a small settlement, but it was scarcely more than a hamlet consisting of a tavern, a few houses, and perhaps a store (there is evidence of one dating back to 1773).
A steam ferry, which made its first run in 1873, and which replaced an antiquated, wind-powered vessel, offered a swift and reliable passage across the bay and made Jamestown readily accessible from Newport. In the same year that the steam ferry service was inaugurated, land companies platted several tracts of land in the village, near the eastern ferry landing, at Ocean Highlands--the former Cottrell farm along the southern part of the main section of Conanicut--and at Conanicut Park at the northern tip of the island, which was serviced by steamboats from Providence. Shortly before 1900 another residential development, Shoreby Hill, was platted and built. While Jamestown's landscape remained agricultural (large tracts including all of Beaver Neck were untouched by development), Jamestown was also a summer colony and recreational community, noteworthy for its fishing, its beaches, and its scenery. The village at East Ferry had grown into a small commercial center containing three large hotels, boarding houses, town hall, churches, and several stores.
During the Civil War, Dutch Island was acquired by the federal government for a military installation, and in the early years of the twentieth century, the government acquired several parcels of land in the southern part of the island and built Forts Getty and Wetherill. Fort Wetherill took part of the Ocean Highlands tract containing four cottages. Gould Island became part of the Newport torpedo station facility in 1918.
Aside from the military establishments, Jamestown's growth was slow and steady in the first half of the twentieth century. Gradual population growth did not disrupt the basic land patterns of the island, with its village, summer colonies, and farmland.
The construction of the Jamestown Bridge (since replaced) in 1940 was largely responsible for many changes on the island after World War II as newcomers from the mainland discovered Conanicut's beauty and convenience. The most intensive development occurred in the vicinity of the bridge, where many houses were constructed along the shore and on newly-platted side streets nearby. Houses were also built in other parts of the island, and farmland acreage continued to decline. The Newport Bridge, completed in 1969, made the island even more easily accessible and brought in more people, many of whom just cross the island.
Today, Jamestown is a mostly residential town. The village offers commercial employment; service jobs are available; some Jamestowners are employed in the fishing industry; and there is a small work force involved with boat yards and marinas, but there is no manufacturing on the island. Many Jamestown residents work on nearby Aquidneck or on the mainland. Seasonal residents and tourists swell the population in summer. Only a few tracts of open farmland remain; the rest of the island is covered with houses and large areas of scrubby woods which have replaced the formerly open land. Despite the relatively large increase in permanent inhabitants and other changes, Conanicut's scenery and its quiet way of life remain the island's principal attractions.
When the Narragansett sachems Miantonomi and Canonicus agreed, in 1638, to let the English colonists use Conanicut Island for grazing, the newcomers had been in Rhode Island only two years. The Indians had been there for countless generations, in the words of Pressicus, a Narragansett sachem, since "time out of mind."
Jamestown's history began thousands of years ago. Archaeologists have found Native American artifacts and other remains of early Indian settlements dating to at least 5,000 years ago. It is likely that people settled the land earlier, between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, after the last of the glaciers melted away and well before Narragansett Bay and Conanicut Island as we know them today existed.
The cold, post-glacial climate was in some ways like modern arctic regions. The landscape was an open, treeless tundra with plants such as birch sedge, myrtle, willow, hornbeam, and grasses. Those plants provided food for animals such as caribou, bison, musk ox, mammoths, and mastodons. Although people probably did live in the Jamestown area, archaeologists have yet to discover the materials they left behind. In fact, only a few scattered artifacts from these ancient people have been found in Rhode Island, probably because much of the land available then is now underwater.
Narragansett Bay had not yet formed. Instead, a system of freshwater streams, rivers and lakes carried the glacial melt water to the coast, then located about eighty miles south of Providence. As the ice sheet melted, sea levels rose, and slowly the streams and rivers changed from fresh water to salt water. By 4,750 years ago, Conanicut Island had separated from the mainland, but was connected to Dutch Island. Jamestown did not assume its present size until sea levels began to stabilize, about 3,000 years ago.
As the climate warmed, the tundra-like landscape was replaced by a spruce forest, and by 9,000 years ago, pine, birch and alder appeared. The deciduous forest was taking root--oaks were common by 8,000 years ago, and by 5,000 years ago, an oak-hickory forest was established. Deer replaced the moose and elk; migratory fish such as shad began their yearly runs up the larger rivers.
Although food was becoming more plentiful and the climate had become temperate, the archaeological evidence of human presence is still sparse. About 5,000 years ago the modern bay with its mudflats and small estuaries had formed. After the establishment of this estuarine environment, archaeological sites become more abundant.
Archaeological sites from these years indicate the presence of fairly permanent settlements: an early village, perhaps as old as 4,500 years had been found in Middleboro, Massachusetts; on Conanicut Island, the Joyner archaeological site, along Eldred Avenue, also contains evidence of a village settlement, some of which was used 4,500 years ago; other parts were used perhaps 3,300 years ago and some as recent as 2,000 years ago. The Joyner archaeological site contained the remains of circular wigwams, fire pits, trash pits, cutting implements fashioned from white quartz and argillite, tools for grinding nuts and seeds, hearths with the remains of deer and passenger pigeon, and stored caches of finished tools, paint stones and other objects used in village life.
The Joyner site is part of a large area on the island, extending south from Eldred Avenue (perhaps extending north of Eldred), to Narragansett Avenue that contains many important archaeological sites. Part of this area, the Jamestown Archaeological District was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Within this district are other examples of Indian settlements including house remains, shell middens and human burials.
The largest documented Indian cemetery in New England is located in the Jamestown Archaeological District. The modern village of Jamestown has grown up around and within this large Indian cemetery; the boundaries of the cemetery remain unknown. Called the West Ferry archaeological site, the cemetery contains cremation burials dating to at least 3,300 years ago; also present are more recent Narragansett Indian interments dating to the 1600s, and quite probably earlier.
The presence of human burials in the same place for such a long period provides archaeological punctuation to Pessicus's statement in 1644 that his people had lived in the area since "time out of mind." It also suggests why the Narragansett sachems Scuttop and Quequaquenuit were incensed at colonial assertions in the 1650s that the land had been sold to the colonists. To these sachems the land had not been sold, rather the colonists had simply been granted rights to use the land, rights that the Indians believed had been abused.
Archaeological sites are also plentiful outside the area between Eldred and Narragansett Avenues. Shell middens have been found around the island, generally close to the shore line; other Indian burials have been reported as well.
Conanicut Island has been the location of several archaeological projects that have made significant contributions to our understanding to the Native American history of the island, in particular, and southern New England, in general. The Jamestown Library includes the Sydney Wright Memorial Museum, the repository for Narragansett Indian and European artifacts recovered from Narragansett graves in the 1960s by archaeologists from Harvard University. The skeletal remains were reburied by members of the Narragansett tribes in 1972, in one of the first reburial ceremonies in the United States. Now, discussions are underway with the Narragansetts to determine the best way to care for the grave artifacts. The library also provides a place for occasional lectures and discussions about the island's archaeology. With the preservation and study of Jamestown's important archaeological sites, the island will continue to contribute to our knowledge of the past.
The first recorded European contact with Narragansett Bay occurred during the 1524 voyage of exploration by Giovanni da Verrazano. Although he was probably the first European to see the Bay, his visit did not have lasting consequence. Ninety years later the Dutch sent a fleet of ships on an exploratory expedition to America. One, commanded by Adrian Block, sighted Block Island in 1614, and either Block or Captain Hendricksen, on a second voyage in 1616, explored Narragansett Bay. From their base in New Amsterdam the Dutch carried on a considerable trade with Native Americans, much of it with the Wampanoags, principally in the Warren River. In 1636 or 1637, Abraham Pietersen, acting for the West India Company, purchased the island of Quentenis (now Dutch Island), which was used by the Dutch as a trading post for about 20 years.
The Dutch traders were interested principally in furs, and they established no colonies or settlements in this area. The first settlers of Rhode Island were religious dissidents from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After the establishment of a settlement at the head of the bay at Providence in 1636 a colony was started at Pocasset (now Portsmouth) at the northern end of Aquidneck Island in 1638. In the following year, some of the Pocasset residents moved to the southern end of Aquidneck Island and began a small settlement at Newport. Under the leadership of William Coddington and John Clarke, the Newport founders in 1637 were given title to much of Aquidneck Island, as well as "the marsh or grasse" on Conanicut Island and the other islands in the bay (except Prudence), by the Narragansett sachems Canonicus and Miantonomi.
The lands bordering Narragansett Bay produced a fruitful bounty. Their rich silt loam soils were fit for general farming and apple orchards and excellent for grazing. Conanicut and Dutch Islands, as appendages of Newport under the agreement with Canonicus and Miantonomi, were used as grazing land for several decades after 1639. The first animals introduced by the Newporters were sheep. Sheep raising was initiated on a large scale in the early 1640s; by the mid-1650s there were thousands in Rhode Island.
In 1656 a company of more than 100 men agreed to purchase Conanicut Island, and in 1657 Cashasaquont, then the chief sachem of the Narragansetts, deeded to William Coddington, Benedict Arnold, and about 100 other buyers Conanicut and Dutch Islands; in the same year, Koshtosh, another sachem, sold today's Gould Island to Thomas Gould.
Conanicut Island was surveyed by Joshua Fisher, and a plan was drawn in 1657. Forty-eight hundred of the 6,000 acres were divided among the various purchasers, known as the proprietors; 260 acres were designated for a town plat, with 1-acre house lots; 20 acres were set aside for an artillery ground, a place of burial, and a prison house; and a 4-rod-wide road was drawn across the island. Land was also made available for other highways. Although the artillery ground was proposed, it probably was not actually created at this time.
Land was allotted to the proprietors in proportion to their investment in the purchase. Benedict Arnold's 1,411 acres were the largest share. Most of his land was in the southern part of the island. When the proposed town plat never materialized, one quarter of the proposed village land (260 acres) was also acquired by Arnold. Other large landowners in the original purchase were William Brenton (805 acres), R. Smith (378), R. Carr (285), William Coddington (240), and Caleb Carr (120).
Many of the original investors sold their rights to others at the drawing of lots, so their names never appeared on the plat map, only the names of the permanent buyers. Dutch Island initially remained undivided, to be used in common for pasture.
For many years after the beginning of settlement, the Narragansett Bay area enjoyed agricultural prosperity. Many early settlers were husbandmen who came from agriculturally progressive counties of England. They learned from the Indians the skill and knowledge of cultivating native crops, principally corn, peas, beans, and pumpkins. Within a few years of the founding of Newport, the rural economy was characterized by a commercial agriculture based largely on an extensive system of grazing, breeding, and fattening of livestock. Sheep were the most important animals, but dairy cattle were also important, producing milk, butter, and cheese. Beef cattle became more important, probably after 1660, when beef became a leading meat in the Rhode Islanders' diet. By 1664 a royal commission report declared Narragansett Bay to be "the largest and safest port in New England, nearest to the sea, and fittest for trade." The report also noted that the best English grasses and the most sheep were found in the colony.
During King Philip's War, when conflict between the Wampanoags and white settlers resulted in widespread destruction in southern New England, Conanicut and other islands remained fairly safe. After hostilities ceased, some Indians came to Conanicut and gave themselves up to the authorities for protection; others were taken into Jamestown families as servants. Narragansett Bay, after the war, supplied sheep to farmers in other parts of Rhode Island and the other colonies which had suffered during the war, resulting in an expansion of pastureland.
Jamestown was incorporated as a town in 1678 and was named in honor of Prince James (later James II), son of Charles II of England. Its citizens adopted for a seal a shield with a green field surmounted by a silver sheep. At incorporation, the new town's population was 150.
By the late seventeenth century, Jamestown, like the Aquidneck Island towns and the Narragansett Country (in South County), had already attained a measure of prosperity and a way of life unrivaled in New England. A 1690 account of the region declared that Rhode Island was justly called the "Garden of New England" for its fertility and pleasantness. It was an excellent country for raising sheep and horses, and the islands being surrounded by the sea were free from the dangers of bears, wolves, and foxes. The colony's inhabitants, who lived in relative plenty, sent horses and provisions to Barbados and the Leeward Islands and great numbers of oxen and sheep to Boston.
Several Conanicut landowners, in addition to acquiring material wealth, were prominent in the affairs of the colony. Benedict Arnold was the first governor of the colony under the 1660 charter of Charles II. Caleb Carr, one of the original Conanicut proprietors, also served as a colonial governor.
Many of the early settlers brought their Quaker faith with them from Newport. By 1684 they were holding meetings in private residences on Conanicut.
Town services were also evident in the late seventeenth century. Ferry runs between Newport and Jamestown started at an early date, at least by 1663; by century's end, several ferries were operating. In 1698 Nicholas Carr was instructed to build a town pound to hold stray animals.
By the end of the seventeenth century, Jamestown was a settled township. Its inhabitants, numbering 150 in 1678 and almost 200 by 1700, lived on farms scattered throughout the island, and were served by a road network. A road across the island, Ferry Road, probably existed in a rudimentary state.
Few of the island's earliest roads or buildings have survived in their original forms. Ferry Road may still be as wide now as it was when it was first laid out, but only a short tree-lined section near the west ferry landing gives a hint of the character of the early roadscape.
Most of the farmhouses are gone; some, like the c. 1695 Daniel Weeden House and the 1693 Nicholas Carr House, were replaced by newer structures, while many of the others were victims of fire, neglect, or old age. The Thomas Paine House, also called Cajacet, at 850 East Shore Road, erected in the 1690s, is probably the sole seventeenth-century survivor. Built as a two-story house, with a large room on each story, it was enlarged and altered at least twice in the eighteenth century, and again in 1882, in 1915, and in the recent past. Today it stands in relative isolation on a nine-acre parcel of land, serving as an interesting architectural document that chronicles the many changes brought about over the years at the hand of different owners.
AGRICULTURAL PROSPERITY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
During the late seventeenth and throughout most of the eighteenth centuries, Jamestown's favorable location between the agriculturally prosperous Narragansett Country to the west and commercially wealthy Newport to the east was largely responsible for the economic well-being of the island. Although Conanicut's farms were considerably smaller than those of South County, the island had the same relatively mild, water-tempered climate, fertile soil, proximity to water, and tolerance of slave labor, a combination of circumstances that resulted in a period of agricultural prosperity that lasted for more than a century, from about the 1660s until the eve of the Revolutionary War.
Jamestown's economy, like that of the Narragansett country towns, was based on cattle and sheep and their by-products. Some Rhode Island dairy cows were in 1709 exported to the West Indies, but most were kept for dairy uses; they produced an excellent cheese which was shipped in large quantities to the other colonies, particularly to Boston, and to the West Indies. Butter was also exported, but in much smaller amounts. The major crop, corn, became the bread grain of the colony, and it is likely that a windmill to grind the grain was built at an early date on Conanicut.
In 1709 the island was surveyed. The town was laid out with 22 lots. A burial ground was established at this time, and it is probable that the artillery lot then came into existence. Census data for 1730 and for 1775 show a slow steady growth in the population of Jamestown. In 1730 the total population was 321. Eighty blacks, mostly slaves, comprised about one-quarter of the population. The 19 Indians counted may also have been slaves. By 1775 the island's population was 556, including 130 blacks and 32 Indians.
Newport, selected as a town site for its excellent year-round harbor, was settled by substantial families who laid the foundations for Newport's greatness. Some of these families owned land and maintained an active interest in the welfare of Jamestown as well. By the 1660s, Newporters were profiting from a lively trade in sugar, molasses, rum, and cotton from Barbados, dry goods and hardware from England, and pork, beef, peas, butter, and cheese from the local hinterland. The latter were marketed in the American colonies and the West Indies. Newport also developed important local industries--distilling, sugar refining, brewing, and the manufacture of oil and spermaceti candles. About 1730 the manufacture of candles was reportedly being carried on at Jamestown's East Ferry and was said to be a thriving business. Also on Jamestown in the eighteenth century were two tanyards and several cordwainers and weavers.
Since Newport's hinterland to the north and east of Aquidneck was within the commercial domain of Boston, its merchants relied on products from the west, especially the Narragansett Country. In 1720 some of the produce of the Narragansett plantations was coming over the Jamestown ferries to Newport. By 1720, Newport was a leading urban center of the colonies, with a population of 3,800. By 1742 its people numbered 6,200, and in 1755, 6,753 people lived in Newport. Jamestown, in contrast, had 517 inhabitants in 1755.
The establishment of ferries at each end of Ferry Road encouraged small settlements at the landings; they contained no more than a few houses near the water. To accommodate ferry travelers and to provide a public place of meeting, four tavern licenses were issued by 1701.
In 1705, according to colonial records, a watch house was in existence at Beavertail. A beacon was erected and a regular watch was set up in 1712. Threat of war with Spain resulted in the construction of another watch house at Beavertail in 1739-40. A lighthouse, only the third in the colonies, was constructed at Beavertail in 1749; it burned down in 1753 and was rebuilt in 1755.
The Quaker fellowship of Conanicut, which had been meeting in private houses, built a meetinghouse and established a burial ground along another ferry road--today's Eldred Avenue--in 1709-10. In 1734 the meeting house was moved to a new site atop Windmill Hill. Episcopal services were first conducted on the island in 1741 by the noted South County clergyman James McSparran. Subsequent Episcopal services were conducted by volunteer lay readers or visiting clergy and were held in private residences on Jamestown for about one hundred years.
Jamestown's period of prosperity and population growth came to an abrupt halt with the onset of the Revolutionary War. On December 10, 1775, about 200 British soldiers and marines landed at the East Ferry, marched across the island to the West Ferry, where they burned the ferry house and other buildings, and, on their return, burned all buildings which were easily accessible. At least fourteen houses were destroyed, and 50 cows, 6 oxen, and a number of sheep and hogs were carried off the island. In a skirmish at the crossroads of today's Narragansett Avenue and North Main Road-Southwest Avenue, the British suffered the loss of one marine and the wounding of seven or eight others. One civilian bystander, who may have been a Tory or British sympathizer, was wounded.
Many of Jamestown's residents fled to the mainland. The population decreased from 556 in 1775 to 323 in the following year. During the British occupation of Newport, from December, 1776, to October, 1779, the southern part of Jamestown was occupied almost continuously by British forces. Batteries which had been established by colonial militia at Fort Dumpling and the Conanicut Battery on Beaverneck were taken and manned by the British during their stay, and destroyed by them, along with the lighthouse, when they left.
Following the war, Jamestown underwent a slow recovery. In the 1780s a new Quaker meetinghouse was built on the site of the one it replaced. A new windmill, the third built on the island, was erected nearby on land confiscated from Tory Joseph Wanton. Across the road, a farm owned by Governor Hutchinson of Boston, another Tory, was also confiscated. In 1783 the population of about 345 inhabitants (on 47 farms) was only about a dozen more than in 1776. Most of the farms were in pasture, used to graze sheep and cows; the rest was in hay meadow (21%) and in cultivated land (10%). The town's returning prosperity is indicated by a rise in population to 507 in 1790; at that time wool, mutton, and cheese were Jamestown's major export items. Conanicut's cheese, like that of Block Island, was famous throughout the colonies.
At the end of the century, Fort Dumpling, a huge, solid, stonework elliptical tower, was constructed. Although it reportedly never saw military action, it stood as Jamestown's most imposing and romantic landmark for most of the nineteenth century.
Most of Jamestown's eighteenth-century buildings no longer exist. Some were destroyed and never rebuilt; some, like the lighthouse at Beavertail, were replaced; and yet other structures, including the William Battey House, were so changed that their original form is no longer recognizable. The few extant structures, however, are good examples of the early Rhode Island house type. They are 2 1/2-story dwellings whose hallmarks are massive interior framing, with large posts and beams joined together by pegs; a large, brick, center chimney; and a simply-framed central entry in a five-bay facade. Most are plain, functional structures lacking architectural detail and embellishment.
The Carr Homestead, at 90 Carr Lane, whose age is difficult to pinpoint with accuracy, has a transom-lighted entryway, and its small house lot still contains several fine farm outbuildings, including a corn crib. Like the Carr Homestead, the Lyman-Cottrell House, off Hamilton Avenue, is of uncertain age; a large tract of its farmland was sold more than a century ago for summer cottages. The c. 1760 Carr-Hazard House, at 30 Rub Street, has a less common 4-bay facade. It is part of the Windmill Hill Historic District, as is the 1796 Thomas Carr Watson Farmhouse, a handsome dwelling with many of its original features, including multi-pane windows, intact. The Watson House, on a 258-acre farm, with a cluster of outbuildings nearby, is owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, which protects this handsome house. Also in the Windmill Hill Historic District are three structures built in 1787: the 1-story Friends Meeting House and the adjacent windmill and miller's house. Two large, mid-eighteenth-
century farmhouses, both with outbuildings, face each other across Fort Getty Road on Beaver Neck. The Jonathan Law Farmhouse is on the south side of the road. Fox Hill Farm, with a rare (for Jamestown) gambrel-roofed residence, slopes gently down to the waters of the west passage. The small population of Jamestown's eighteenth century has left a remarkable legacy in these buildings. They are a noteworthy group, both for their architectural quality and for their ability to document life in the period of Jamestown's development as a prosperous small farming community.
Carr House, late 18th century, 90 Carr Lane. A typical farmhouse, this house was built by a Carr and remained in the family throughout its history. The land was in agricultural use into the mid-twentieth century.
Thomas Carr Watson House, 1796, 455 North Main Road, Windmill Hill Historic District. This old farmhouse, set well back from the road, is the centerpiece of a 259-acre farm. Nearby outbuildings include three barns and a chicken house. The property was acquired by Job Watson in 1794 and remained in the Watson family until 1975, when it was given to the present owner, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, who maintain it as a working farm.
Fox Hill Farm, late 18th century, 994 Fort Getty Road. This large gambrel-roofed residence is one of two old farmhouses in this small agricultural district. Nearby are several outbuildings.
For the greater part of the nineteenth century, Jamestown was a quiet, very sparsely populated town. In the first decade of the century the population numbered just over 500 inhabitants, but after 1810 it began a decline. By 1850 census takers counted only 358 people; in 1870 the town had gained only 20 people to total 378.
While most of Rhode Island (except for Newport County) was taking part in the Industrial Revolution, with textile mills and hamlets and villages springing up on numerous waterways throughout the state, Conanicut's lack of a waterway large enough to generate power to run industrial machinery excluded it from most manufacturing activity. Instead, the steady and reliable sea breezes were used to drive the large wooden blades of the island's sole windmill, whose stones ground corn into meal.
As in the previous centuries, agriculture was the mainstay of the island's economy. Pease and Niles wrote in their gazetteer in 1819 that the rich loam soil was "peculiarly adapted to grazing," and "likewise productive in grain, especially barley and Indian corn." Sheep grazing which heretofore had been very important was, in 1819, "less attended to." At that time Jamestown had 60 to 70 dwelling houses, one religious society and church, two or three schools, and one grain mill. Hayward, recording the island in 1839, paraphrased the 1819 account regarding agriculture. He considered the beautiful island, with its industrious and agriculturally skilled inhabitants, and its location, "a delightful place."
The 1850 census provides a snapshot of Jamestown at mid-century. Fifty-five hundred acres were devoted to farming. The 45 farms scattered about the island ranged in size from five to 380 acres. The largest were Daniel Watson's (380 acres) and William Weeden's (365 acres), at the northern end of the island. John Cottrell's 350-acre farm occupied the southern end of the island; it covered most of what later became developed as the Cottrell Farm and Ocean Highlands plats. At Windmill Hill was the 330-acre Robert Watson farm, one of only a few farms that have survived to the present day.
All of Jamestown's farms had a few milking cows whose milk was probably used by the farm family. Each farm also made butter (the island's production totaled 30,847 pounds), but less than half the farms converted milk into cheese (of which 23,350 pounds were manufactured). Leaders in both these dairy products were David W. Clarke, Ebenezer Tefft, Benjamin Cottrell, and John Cottrell. The farms of George C. Carr, William Briggs, and Daniel W. Watson also made a ton or more of cheese.
Swine were important both as a source of meat for the table and for their by-products. William Briggs owned 27 pigs, an unusually high number for Jamestown, which averaged five porkers per farm. The 1,122 sheep grazing the land of the 17 sheep-raising farms yielded 4,844 pounds of wool. Jonathan Lake led, with 900 pounds of wool sheared; John Cottrell was next, with 700 pounds of wool. A variety of crops was planted for man and beast. Hay was harvested on all farms, each farm bringing in an average of 18 tons. On 44 farms, a total of 11,387 bushels of Indian corn were picked in 1850, David Clarke and Jonathan Lake each harvesting 800 bushels. Only 36 farms grew Irish potatoes. The farms of Ebenezer Teft, John Cottrell, and Benjamin Cottrell, each gathered 400 bushels, about one third of the island's entire potato crop of 4,180 bushels.
Gradually, as the century progressed, services and institutions were established. In 1827 a lighthouse was built at the southern end of Dutch Island. Its poor construction, however, necessitated a replacement, and in 1857 the present structure was erected. The Beavertail Lighthouse also became obsolete and was replaced in 1856 by the present structure. Dutch Island's owner, Powell Carpenter, who unsuccessfully attempted to establish a fish works there, sold the island to the United States government in 1864, and a fort was erected. Troops were stationed on the island for a short time in the 1860s.
Educational services continued to be limited, but records indicate the existence of a stone school house in Jamestown in the late eighteenth century. In 1801 plans were made for two new schools. By 1818 there were three schools, one in the northern part, a middle schoolhouse, and one in the southern part of the main section of the island. In 1847 the Philomenian Library Association was incorporated, its books stored in private houses. The Town Council gave a small parcel of land in the southeast corner of the artillery lot for a church building, which was erected in 1833. Several years later the building was acquired by the island's Episcopalian society and it served as a missionary chapel of Newport's Trinity Church. The Baptist Society of Jamestown built a meeting house on North Main Road about 1842. This building was soon considered to be too far from the center of population and a new group--the Central Baptist Society--was formed in the village, and in 1868 erected a church on Narragansett Avenue. Services continued to be held at the old meetinghouse until 1880; later the building was sold to Episcopalians, then in 1934 sold again and converted into a dwelling.
The first building on the island constructed specifically to be a store was erected in 1829 by Isaac Carr, who carried on a trade for about 50 years. The first post office was established in 1844, with William A. Weeden, Jr., as the postmaster.
Although a few schoolhouses and churches, a post office, and a store were established in Jamestown during the first part of the nineteenth century, and even though farming was providing a livelihood for most of the island's inhabitants, perceptions of life here were mixed. Two 1860 newspaper accounts provide glimpses of Jamestown. A Providence Journal reporter noted that "around the east ferry there is a group of houses, forming a little village, running in a straggling line across the island to the west ferry. These buildings are quite unpretending, but are comfortable and in good repair." At the west ferry, which had a store, a new house had recently been erected, but in considering the island in general, the reporter considered its present condition to be "run down." In a subsequent issue of the Mercury, the author of a letter (signed only as "W") stated that the land was being exhausted by poor agricultural practices. Due to failure to manure the fields, the land was worn. But, said "W," some land was productive, and Jamestown supplied some of the best lambs in the market. Within a few years (of 1860) several new houses had been built, including a large boardinghouse. The article by the Providence Journal reporter described the character of the southern part of the main section of the island. He found: "undulating hills of rock, not half covered with soil, and not capable of producing anything more than a scanty crop of grass--just enough to keep up the appearance of verdure, and to cheat the few sheep pastured there into the belief that there was an abundance and to spare; but it requires the closest application on their part to the work of nibbling, to maintain a respectable appearance in the way of fat and wool."
Because Jamestown's population experienced a loss of 25% between 1800 and 1869, there was a limited amount of building activity. The inventory of historic resources in this report includes only about ten significant structures from this period, including two lighthouses and a town pound.
Off North Main Road, in the Windmill Hill Historic District, the c. 1802 Watson/Hodgkiss House survives as a good example of the large, early Rhode Island farmhouse. It closely resembles the nearby 1796 Thomas Carr Watson House, but the Watson/Hodgkiss House's features have been refined with a pedimented entry and splayed lintels over the windows. Part of a working farm, it has a collection of varied-age outbuildings nearby. The Tiddeman Hull House, formerly at 398 Eldred Avenue, is a small 1 1/2-story, center-chimney dwelling, which was reportedly built in 1840; if so, it is an unusually late example of its type. Several mid-nineteenth-century buildings, the 1841 First Baptist Church, at 783 North Main Road, later converted to residential use, the 1843 Meadowsweet Farm, at 191 Narragansett Avenue, and the Carr-Howland Farmhouse, at 256 East Shore Road, have all been remodeled. Thorncroft, at 175 Narragansett Avenue, built about 1860, which includes a fine carriage house on its large lot, was enlarged and improved in 1889, and has been subsequently reworked, but still retains its late nineteenth-century appearance. The Maples, at 78 Narragansett Avenue, when built as a residence in 1866, was said to have been the finest Victorian-style house in Jamestown. It has recently been enlarged and now houses professional offices, but it retains some of its architectural detailing and has the further distinction of being on the only surviving lot of the original 22 township lots laid out along the road in 1709.
The Dutch Island Lighthouse, first erected in 1827, was replaced in 1857 by a new structure. Several ancillary outbuildings were recently destroyed, leaving the white, square tower as a solitary symbol of the island's maritime history. At Beavertail, the 1779 lighthouse was replaced in 1856 by the present handsome structure. It and the dependent buildings, now under the care of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, are in good condition today and include a museum devoted to lighthouse history.
SUMMER VISITORS AND OTHER NEWCOMERS
In 1870 Jamestown's land use pattern was essentially the same as it had been for the previous two centuries. Narragansett Avenue was the most heavily settled part of the island. Along this old road a line of houses extended from the East Ferry landing to the junction of North Main Road, and a few houses were clustered near the West Ferry landing. But the remainder of Jamestown's houses and farms were widely dispersed over the rest of the island. The southern end of Conanicut, south of Hamilton Avenue, was a single parcel of land owned by the Cottrell family, which also owned Fox Hill Farm on Beaver Neck. All of Beaver Neck contained only five houses. North of Great Creek for a distance of about two miles, houses were strung out at intervals along North Main Road, and several houses were also spread out along Eldred Avenue. The farmsteads at the northern end of the island were sited far off the road, near the shore along both sides of the island.
The last three decades of the nineteenth century, however, were among the most dramatic and exciting in the town's history, a time of profound change. While much of the town remained agricultural, four separate and distinct residential tracts were established. The greatest development occurred near the East Ferry landing, which became a full-fledged village. Growth here was mostly fueled by the construction of several large hotels and the establishment of boarding houses. A summer colony called Conanicut Park was started at the northern end of the island. Remote and isolated from the village, this development, relying mostly on steamboats for contact with the outside world, was an ambitiously planned but scarcely realized resort, attracting Rhode Islanders and other New Englanders. At the opposite end of the island, in the Ocean Highlands tract, wealthy Philadelphia families, among others, built the island's finest mansions, most perched on rock outcrops, on the high elevations and along the scenic and southern coast--sites that provided some of the most beautiful vistas in Rhode Island. At the northern edge of the village, a group of wealthy St. Louis families established Shoreby Hill, a private enclave, in the closing years of the nineteenth century.
Perhaps the most significant event in the history of the island was the introduction of a steam-powered ferry boat, an event that ended two centuries of relative isolation and rural tranquility. The first steam ferry, built by the Atlantic Works of East Boston, christened Jamestown, made the first Jamestown-Newport run in May 1873. This 79-foot long, wood-burning side-wheeler, made five round trips a day between Jamestown and Newport until 1886, when the 125-foot long Conanicut took over. The Jamestown then went into service on the west passage run. In 1896 this boat was replaced by the still larger and much faster Beaver Tail. Benjamin Pease, recalling life on Jamestown (in Recollections of a Long and Busy Life), was not the first to note that the establishment of the steam ferry "inaugurated what was destined to be the key to prosperity on the part of the worthy burghers of Jamestown's fair isle."
Up to this time, the ferry had been used principally by island farmers to market their produce and buy supplies, and by travelers going eastward or westward across the southern part of Rhode Island. The new steam ferry service, which provided relatively safe and efficient transportation to Jamestown, began the era of summer residences, a period that lasted well into the twentieth century. When the steam ferry started there were three land developments underway in the southern part of the island near the East Ferry landing--the Howland Plat, the Gardner Farm Plat, and Ferry Meadow. Two more developments--Ocean Highlands and the Bay View plat--followed soon after. By century's end, the Cottrell Farm, the Bryer Farm, and Shoreby Hill had been subdivided into house lots.
A number of other steam ferries and steamboat lines also operated on Narragansett Bay during the late nineteenth century. One route connected Wickford with Newport; another line ran boats from Providence to the southern shore. These steamer services were responsible for establishing Jamestown's earliest summer colony, Conanicut Park, at the northern tip of the island.
The Conanicut Land Company, organized in 1872, purchased about 500 acres here. Their tract was divided into more than 2,000 small rectangular lots which were platted along several gracefully curving roadways. Most of the lots went undeveloped, and a proposed park never got beyond the drawing board, but the all-important steamboat landing and a hotel were built in 1873. Four cottages were also built in 1873; in the next two years six more cottages were added. However, the depression of 1873 slowed development considerably at this crucial time, and the introduction of the steam ferry from Newport to the East Ferry landing shifted the focus of summer cottage activity to the southern end of the island. The steamers and other vessels received an aid to navigation in 1886 with the establishment of the North Light at the tip of the island. In the following year, Dr. Jernegan of Boston began building "a substantial villa" at the northwestern part of the island not far from the lighthouse, on a large tract of land. Governor Henry Lippitt purchased the buildings and land of the Conanicut Land Company at public auction in 1889; soon after, three more cottages and a farmhouse were constructed. In addition to residences and the hotel, the Providence YWCA was allowed the use of a house for its camp in 1878. The house was acquired in 1881, and named Seaside. Later, the YWCA acquired four other Conanicut Park Houses.
Soon after the start of the project, a group of investors (Daniel LeRoy of New York; Samuel Campbell of New York; John B. Palmer of Providence; A.B. Darling of New York, the proprietor of the Fifth Avenue Hotel; and W.H. Carr of New York, a clerk in Darling's hotel) purchased a tract of land just south of the Park. Caswell and Darling had plans for a hotel, but it never materialized.
East Ferry Development
The first great building boom on Jamestown began at the East Ferry, where hotels, cottages, stores, and private residences were built in the latter part of the nineteenth century, transforming the place into a true village. Near the landing, even before the advent of steam navigation, summer visitors were accommodated in private residences. Reportedly, William Champlin began keeping boarders during the time of the Civil War.
Ferry Meadow was part of the Howland Farm which had belonged to John Howland at the end of the eighteenth century. With its proximity to the East Ferry landing it was the first plat developed. Twenty acres between Union and Brook Streets were divided into 70 lots and sold. By 1873 Pardon Tucker's mansard-roof residence had been built and houses were being constructed for Philip Caswell and John Howland. John Howland put up an entirely gas-piped house partly from the proceeds of land sales, and partly from faith in sales to come. In June, 1888, no fewer than twenty houses were in the process of completion, or just completed, within view of the ferry dock, and "fully double that number were erected within the limits of the town proper during the past year," reported the Newport Mercury. By the end of the century, Ferry Meadow was the most densely settled part of the village.
Several other small housing developments were laid out in the village. The Gardner Farm Plat, comprised of several shore lots south of Ferry Meadow, was platted in 1873 by James Hamilton Clarke. West of Ferry Meadow, between Narragansett Avenue and High Street, was the Howland Plat. Nearly all of the land along Howland Avenue in this plat was sold by 1874. An 1888 newspaper account reported that most of the 60-x-100-foot lots in the Howland Plat had been sold and the area was "already a good sized village of small but neat and tasty homes." In 1875 Benjamin Bryer of New York owned the southern 85 acres of the former Isaac Howland Farm, located about one quarter of a mile north of the ferry landing. In 1884 part of this tract was developed for housing. Between 1883 and 1888 many summer cottages, ranging in cost from $500 to $80,000, were built on the island, according to the Newport Mercury, and architect Charles L. Bevins was "working night and day to furnish plans for others to be erected for the 1889 season." In 1887 the Bryer Plat was made up of the cottages of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral H.C. Wells and Medical Director David Kindleberger, Mrs. Pascal Hacker of Philadelphia, and Cory's boarding house. By 1888 several other houses were being constructed.
Development of the South End of the Island
South of the village and beyond the several small residential developments (that ended at Hamilton Avenue) was the vast Cottrell Farm. In 1844 John Cottrell had moved to Jamestown from South Kingstown and purchased the 200-acre Lyman Farm. Along with the 200-acre Dumplin Farm and Fox Hill Farm, the Cottrell family holdings in Jamestown totaled more than 500 acres. John Cottrell's son Frederick, who took over the farm, was more interested in business ventures than in farming. He was instrumental in organizing the ferry company, was a part owner in the Ferry Meadow Company, and, for a time, was president of the Ocean Highlands Company.
Incorporated in 1875 with George C. Carr as president, the Ocean Highlands Company acquired a 265-acre parcel "comprising the barren tract known as the Dumplings" (and also known as the East and West Dumplings, or Dumplin Farm), the southernmost part of the Cottrell Farm, fronting the ocean. The company's goal was the improvement of this part of the island for summer residences. By 1875, according to a Newport newspaper, they had begun constructing a road that would be a drive of five miles, and were planning to build a hotel and construct a wharf.
Although land in the Ocean Highlands began selling in 1875, no houses were built there until 1881, when William Trost Richards, a marine artist from Philadelphia, bought a lot and built a cottage, Gray Cliff, near the quartz dike known as "White Streak" in the cliffs along the water. Richards's high praise of Conanicut (he said that "certainly there is no place more lovely than Conanicut in all the world") encouraged fellow Philadelphians to purchase property there. Joseph and Charles Wharton and Benjamin Shoemaker built cottages in 1882; James B. Sword, another Philadelphia artist, built a house in 1883; and Philadelphians Wistar Morris and Dr. R. Eglesfeld Griffith built in 1886 and 1887. In 1887 the Newport newspaper listed at least a dozen cottage owners from Ocean Highlands.
In 1884 Walcott Avenue was extended across the Cottrell Farm; three years later the farm was platted for development. By then Admiral Thomas O. Selfridge had already purchased the southeast corner of the farm and built his cottage there.
The year 1888 was one of considerable building activity in the Highlands. Before summer, cottages were built by C.W. Larned of West Point, Mrs. Tilden of New York, and by General Robert Patterson and J.W.M. Newlin of Philadelphia. That summer the new steamer Dumplings began making regular trips between and the Dumplings.
Hotels & Boarding Houses
While large summer homes, or cottages, were being erected in the general vicinity of the landing, the immediate area of the landing site itself received the greatest attention. William H. Knowles, a Jamestown resident, built the first hotel, a 2 1/2-story, mansard-roofed structure, in 1875 near the end of Narragansett Avenue, but the period of greatest hotel growth on the island occurred during the 1880s.
The first of this new group of hotels was the Gardner House, built in 1883 near the water at Conanicus Avenue and Union Street. In 1888 16 new rooms were added, bringing the total to 54. Reportedly there were 100 rooms at a later date. Along Conanicus, just north of Narragansett Avenue, the Harbor View Inn, designed by C.L. Bevins, was erected in 1887. A short distance from the ferry landing, on Green Lane, the Prospect House, also known later as the St. James Manor and Carter's Inn, went up in 1888. It had accommodations for 50 guests.
The year 1889 was the peak year for hotel construction. In that year the largest hotels, and also the one with the most interesting history, appeared in Jamestown. The Bay Voyage Hotel was built in the 1860s in Middletown. The 2-1/2-story mansard-roofed structure was floated across the bay in 1889 and set up just north of the ferry landing. In 1890 30 rooms were added, making a total of 40 rooms. Adolphus C. Knowles, whose father had earlier built the Bay View House, moved the Ellery Ferry House, which occupied an important site at the corner of Narragansett Avenue and Conanicus Avenue, and built a massive, 4 1/2-story structure with towers and porches, and accommodations for 200 guests. The old house, moved a short distance to Knowles Court, was used for hotel employees. Another large hotel was the Thorndike (or Thorndyke), built by Patrick H. Horgan of Newport. This 4-story, Colonial Revival structure, with broad and deep verandas, contained 113 guest rooms. Its first floor housed two stores, the Jamestown Pharmacy, and an ice cream and confectionery store. Near the ferry landing, across from and contemporaneous with the Bay View Hotel, was the Riverside House, which housed 40 guests in rooms above two stores and a billiard room. The Riverside House burned in 1894 and was replaced by the Caswell Block. Further from the ferry landing, just beyond the Bay Voyage Hotel, was the Champlin House, a summer hotel with accommodations for 75 guests, run by W.A. Champlin. In addition to these large hotels, a number of other structures were erected for summer rentals, including Vinecroft and the Honeysuckles on Lincoln Street, and the Emmons, Eustis, and Peckham Cottages on Walcott Avenue.
The hotels were the primary reason for the transformation of Jamestown from an agricultural town to a summer resort. They also contributed to the introduction of modern technology and improvements in the village, which included electric street lights, water supply, and sewers. In 1899 electricity powered 200 lights, hotel shops, and three cottages at the Thorndike Hotel; in that year also part of Narragansett Avenue was macadamized. Many improvements were also realized through the efforts of the Jamestown Improvement Society, which was active in the 1890s. Similar to other groups throughout the nation, the J.I.S. concerned itself with aesthetics as well as practical matters, such as health.
Hotel growth was accompanied by the inception and growth of various services, commercial establishments, and institutions. This village growth is demonstrated by the construction, in 1883, of the Town Hall at its present site on Narragansett Avenue, replacing the old one which stood at the corner of Watson Avenue and North Road. Episcopalians erected a new St. Matthews Church in 1880 across the road from the old church, and in 1891 a new Baptist church replaced an earlier one at the corner of Narragansett Avenue and Southwest Avenue. The first Roman Catholic Mass on the island was held in the Thorndike Hotel in 1890. In 1893 a Roman Catholic church, at first a mission attached to St. Mary's in Newport, was built on Clinton Avenue. A schoolhouse that stood on Southwest Avenue was moved to the corner of the artillery lot and fitted up as a library building in 1898.
The last major development in Jamestown during the era of steam ferry navigation occurred shortly before the end of the nineteenth century. In 1895 the Greene Farm, just north of Narragansett Avenue, remained as it had been for about two centuries. Its old farmhouse was set on a slight rise back from the east shore road, reached by a long, straight driveway, and surrounded by a large tract of farmland. But by then plans were already underway to convert this tract, also referred to as the Quaker Farm, into a residential neighborhood. The services of Ernest W. Bowditch of Boston were enlisted to landscape the large plot of ground for expensive summer residences. Plants, shrubs, and trees were planted under the supervision of forester James H. Bowditch. Sewer and water lines were installed and an interesting pattern of tree-lined roadways was laid out. In September, 1898, the first subdivision plat was recorded; by century's end Shoreby Hill had 10 houses.
Farming and Fishing
While the village was growing and other parts of the island were being developed for summer residences, most of Conanicut remained farmland. By 1895 there were only six properties on Beaver Neck, and as late as 1887 there was no public highway there. Travel along the neck to the lighthouse necessitated the opening of ten gates. The southern tip of Beaver Neck, the 270-acre Ocean View Plat, laid out in 1887, included nine choice waterfront lots and one inland, totaling 23 acres, all used for simple summer cottages and fishing camps. In 1889 Joseph Wharton bought the remaining 247 acres. North of Great Creek (except for Conanicut Park), little had changed in the land use pattern. The centuries-old pattern of dispersed farmsteads still prevailed. Land divisions had left many of the houses on relatively small tracts of land, not large enough to farm profitably.
In 1875 more than one half of the town's farms, comprising 5,450 acres, were in pasture. Hay fields also made up a large percentage of the farm land. Sheep were the most important animals numbering 2,054 in 1875. By 1895, however, there were only 398 of these animals on Jamestown farms. The numbers of swine, milk cows, oxen, and lambs also declined during the last decades of the nineteenth century. Only about 10% of the farmland was cultivated, devoted principally to corn, oats, Irish potatoes, pumpkins, and turnips. By-products included wool, milk, butter, cheese, cream, eggs, and poultry. There were also orchards, mostly growing apples. There were 59 farms in 1875, and only 49 in 1895; the amount of farmland was reduced by 1,315 acres in those twenty years. The island's changing land use was reported in the Providence Journal in 1887: "green fields have abounded and farmers have thrived throughout its limits, but with the influx of summer residents whole tracts of land have lost their identity as farms, and a new era in history begins."
In addition to farming, fishing provided a livelihood for some islanders. Fresh fish was the most important sea harvest; 61,000 pounds of fish were caught during the 1875 and 1895 census years. Jamestown fisherman accounted for 26,425 pounds of lobster in 1875, but only 2,000 pounds were brought to market in 1895. Other fish and shellfish were less important to the economy.
Newcomers and Population Growth and Changes
The steam ferry forever changed Jamestown's life and lifestyles. The 1875 census recorded 488 inhabitants, 110 more than five years earlier. A number of new houses were built for non-residents; many employed professional architects to build large and stylish cottages.
Between 1875 and 1880 population decreased slightly to 459 inhabitants, but by 1885 the number had risen to 576. In the decade between 1875 and 1885, the 70.9% increase in number of houses built on Jamestown was the highest for Rhode Island. More than one-third (36.4%) of the houses were recorded as unoccupied, since summer residences were vacant when the census takers made their rounds. The rapid pace of building and population growth that began in the early 1870s continued unabated thereafter until World War I.
The last decade of the nineteenth century was one of great growth; the year-round population grew from 707 in 1890 to 1,091 in 1900. The Newport Journal estimated that the island had 2,500 summer visitors in 1895. Yet much of the island, the large area between Conanicut Park and Great Creek, and Beaver Neck, remained sparsely-populated as the new century began. At Conanicut Park building activity had slowed considerably. The village and the adjacent southern part of the island continued to develop at a brisk pace, and houses were still going up in the Ocean Highlands. The threat of war with Spain, following the destruction of the Maine in 1898, meant new fortifications in Narragansett Bay, and the southern end of the main island was acquired by the government. A few houses were demolished, and a new concrete fortification was placed on the site of Old Fort Dumpling, the picturesque ruin atop a cliff commanding the narrow east passage of the bay.
The great period of building activity in Jamestown coincided with a time in our country's history characterized by a great diversity of building styles. Many building styles are represented on the island, but most of them are limited to a few examples, and even these are not usually fully developed examples of their type. The Italianate style, for example, is represented by only a few buildings; the 1870 George C. Carr House, at Cedar Hill, is a good example.
The picturesque Gothic Revival, popular at mid-century, is represented by a few Jamestown buildings. The style's emphasis on fancy decorative wooden ornament can be seen on some buildings. A few houses erected in Conanicut Park between 1873 and 1886 exhibit some features of the Gothic Revival style, such as gables trimmed with barge-boards. Perhaps the best example of the style is the 1874 Chapel House at 887 East Shore Road. The 1886 North Light also displays Gothic Revival features.
The Second Empire style was popular in the second half of the nineteenth century, and is readily identified by the distinctive mansard roof. Jamestown examples include the 1875 Howland House at 22 Old Walcott Avenue, the Caswell Cottage at 5 Narragansett Avenue, and the Bay Voyage, moved to Conanicus Avenue in 1889.
Several noteworthy houses were erected in the last two decades of the century in the popular Queen Anne style: Longwood, erected in 1886-87 at 9 Bryer Avenue, the 1897 Horgan Cottages, at 17, 19, and 23 Conanicus Avenue; and the Charles Fletcher Cottage, built in 1885 at 1076 East Shore Road in Conanicut Park (later the Jamestown Inn.)
The most popular building style in Jamestown was the Shingle Style. Houses with shingled exteriors were built at an early date in Jamestown and the wall covering material which is the principal characteristic of the style has persisted to the present.
The neighborhoods of Jamestown, especially Ocean Highlands and Walcott Avenue, are the best places in the state to see and appreciate the charm and sophistication of Shingle Style architecture. Some of the region's first big, casual shingle-clad summer houses are here in Jamestown--they are the characteristic buildings of the island and testimony to its special appeal for summer visitors.
Many of Jamestown's buildings defy easy and convenient stylistic classification, such as the 1891 Central Baptist Church at the crossroads of Narragansett Avenue, and the Movable Chapel, built as a church in 1899, and now a stationary residence at 11 Harbor Street. And, there are many structures erected during this period that, as in the past, were built as plain, functional buildings.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Early twentieth-century Jamestown, accessible only by ferry, remained a quiet and charming island, with its fine summer homes and residential areas, a variety of recreational activities, and its lovely scenery, a medley of rolling farmland, rocky coast, and surrounding spacious bay and ocean. It did not experience the industrial activity common to many other Rhode Island towns. Population growth continued sporadically. The greatest increase occurred during the decade from 1910 to 1920, when the population went from 1,175 to 1,633, a gain of 458 people, but during the next twenty years, the island gained only 111 residents. Most growth, as in the preceding century, occurred in the village, especially along the side streets off Narragansett Avenue. At Shoreby Hill, about 36 houses were added to that residential community, 15 of them built between 1911 and 1916. Building activity continued in the Ocean Highlands, but not at the pace of the previous century. Only a small number of houses were built at Conanicut Park, which was past its brief heyday, and houses were erected in scattered locations throughout the island.
Recreational activities became important in the early twentieth century. A nine-hole golf course had been established in a cow pasture near the Dumplings in July, 1895, and was in use until about October, 1904. Known as Conanicut Golf Club, it was one of the first in New England (the Newport Country Club was started in 1890). In 1902 a new clubhouse was erected and links were laid out on the Littlefield farm, today's Jamestown Country Club.
The July, 1906, Board of Trade Journal declared that Jamestown, next to Newport and Narragansett Pier, was "more widely known as an attractive summer resort than any other place on the Southern New England Coast. It is considerable of a cottage, as well as a summer hotel, settlement," said the magazine article, which also said that the island was well known as the summer home of many U.S. Army and Navy officers as its nearness to Newport made it convenient for those connected with the service.
As the century progressed, Jamestown remained largely unchanged. In 1930, The Book of Rhode Island prophesied that "because of its island character, Jamestown will always preserve its quiet atmosphere." The island, with its appealing scenic beauty and its fisherman's paradise at Beaver Tail, had a highway and shaded lanes affording access to all the traveled parts of the island, a casino, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a modern bathing pavilion on a sheltered shore, fine hotels, boarding houses, garages, schools, churches, and an active yacht club. Boating was one of the island's great attractions. Jamestown, concluded the account of the island, was bound to please those who "want to enjoy good health, rest, and quietness, together with good sports."
During the early twentieth century, several additional institutions and town services were added to the town, all in the village and all but one on Narragansett Avenue--the Palace Theatre, later known as the Bomes Theatre, built in 1921; the Conanicut Grange erected in 1926; the Jamestown fire station, in 1927; and a social gathering place, Holy Ghost Hall, built for a small Portuguese community in 1930. The Roman Catholic parish moved St. Mark Church to a new site on Narragansett Avenue in 1909. By this time, on the other hand, the number of Quakers on the island had declined. A 1939 newspaper account observed that there were no Friends among the permanent population. The old meeting house was open only from June to September for summer residents from Philadelphia.
In 1940 another service was provided to island residents with the opening of the Jamestown Bridge. It replaced the centuries-old West Ferry service between Jamestown and the western mainland of Rhode Island, and made the island readily accessible to automotive travelers.
In 1903 there were nine Jamestown hotels, with a capacity of 1,055 guests, most of whom could be accommodated in the Gardner House (300), the Thorndike (250), and the Bay View (200). In 1900 the Champlin House, with a capacity of 75, became a sanitarium. The original Thorndike burned in 1912, but the hotel era was still flourishing then, and a new hotel was immediately built to replace it. After World War I the hotels experienced a decline. In 1923 the Prospect House on Green Lane was torn down. The new Thorndike, after a life of only about one-quarter of a century, was demolished. The Bay Voyage and the Bay View hotels continued in use, as did a number of smaller boarding houses
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, Jamestown's fortifications which guarded the entrance to Narragansett Bay, were improved and expanded. Work on the fortifications--the construction of permanent guns and mortar batteries--was authorized in 1890. Between about 1896 and 1906 most of Narragansett Bay's permanent batteries were installed. Fort Greble on Dutch Island was rebuilt and a battery of heavy mortars set in place. The Fort Getty site, a 31-acre tract at the northwest corner of Beaver Neck, was purchased by the War Department in 1900; fortifications were erected in the following year. Between 1898 and 1902, the U.S. Government condemned more than 61 acres of land along the coastal part of the main section of Conanicut that contained the summer cottages of William Trost Richards and three others located along the cliffs. The new fort here, named Wetherill, was started in 1902 and enlarged between 1904 and 1907. The southern part of Gould Island was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1909; in 1918 the government acquired the rest of the island for use as a torpedo station and test facility and a hanger and ramp for seaplanes was constructed at the island's south end. All of the fortifications at Fort Greble, Fort Wetherill, and Fort Getty were major components of an integrated system of fortification protecting Narragansett Bay.
Most of the forts reverted to a caretaker status before World War I, but were reoccupied during the war, and then again became inactive. The federal government acquired more land at the old Conanicut Battery site in 1916 and 1921. This property became the site of Prospect Hill fire control station.
The final chapter in the history of most of Jamestown's military establishments was written during World War II. Within the Narragansett Bay area, protected by a network of coastal defenses, vital naval installations, such as the Navy Torpedo Station--sole manufacturer of torpedoes in the United States during the early years of the war--and various naval training activities, were operating at peak performance and expanding. In addition to underwater mines, antisubmarine nets and antiboat booms placed across the east and west passages of the Bay, the Navy installed two submarine detection loops a few miles south of Beavertail Point. The loops, consisting of 90,000 feet of magnetic cable, were connected to receiving equipment in the Harbor Entrance Command Post.
During World War II, Jamestown's forts were all reactivated. Concrete observation posts at Prospect Hill Fort were used as a communications link for a mine command operation. In 1940 a coast artillery unit was stationed at Fort Getty. Subsequently, a searchlight unit was established here, and guns were installed. During the last years of the war, a school for the indoctrination of German prisoners of war was conducted at Fort Getty. In 1941 a degaussing station (to de-magnetize steel ships) was initiated on Gould Island, and in the following year a torpedo facility, comprising several buildings, was erected.
The southern part of Beaver Neck was the scene of considerable activity during World War II. An assessment of U.S. coast and harbor defense needs made in June, 1940, resulted in the installation of major gun batteries at strategic points, one of which was the southern end of Beaver Neck, which was taken for military purposes in 1942 and named in honor of Rhode Island's Civil War General Ambrose Burnside. In addition to gun batteries, the Beaver Tail area was also the site of the Harbor Entrance Command Post, established in 1941, which was responsible for reporting and identifying all ships approaching or entering Narragansett Bay, and the U.S. Navy Radio Facility.
The fortifications and associated military buildings erected during the early years of the century have suffered mixed fortunes. Almost all are now gone, either dismantled, destroyed, or moved off the site, but many of the massive concrete bulwarks remain, especially at Fort Wetherill. These fortifications, like many others erected along America's coastline during its various wars, are important in understanding and appreciating our military history.
Soon after World War II ended, Jamestown's military establishments were deactivated, and eventually, over the course of about thirty years, given to the State of Rhode Island. At Beaver Tail, the Harbor Entrance Command Post was closed in 1945; the nearby Navy Radio Facility was declared surplus in 1978. Fort Greble was discontinued in 1947. In 1958 the fort and Dutch Island became state property. Dutch Island was the first component of the Bay Island Park system in 1974. In the 1970s Fort Getty and Fort Wetherill were declared surplus property. Fort Getty today is owned by the Town of Jamestown, while Fort Wetherill has become part of the state park system.
A number of architecturally significant and interesting residences were built before World War II. The Shingle Style continued to be the most popular building type; most of the wood-shingled houses also displayed classical details. Other popular building styles were also used but less frequently. Several new housing types were also introduced to the island during this period, the most common being the bungalow, characterized by a low pitched gable roof overhanging a porch.
Some "catalog" houses are found on Jamestown, such as two houses purchased from Sears-Roebuck Company: 409 East Shore Road (1930-31) is Sears's Alladin model; 14 Westwood Road (1917) is the Crescent model. Also on Westwood Road is a cottage built from plans published in the magazine "The Craftsman."
The island's population continued its steady growth in the post-war years. Increases were modest between 1940 and 1960, with a gain of only 523 people in those twenty years. About 600 inhabitants were added to the census rolls in the decade of the 1960s, and in the following decade the island experienced its greatest population increase ever when it went from 2,861 to 4,028 residents. This 38% population increase was the second highest gain in the entire state during the 1970s. Most of this new growth (84.9%) was due to newcomers who found Conanicut an even more attractive place to settle after the opening of the Newport Bridge in 1969.
The first Jamestown Bridge was completed in 1940, on the eve of World War II. During that conflict there was relatively little housing growth, but following the war, particularly during the 1950s, with increasing prosperity and the rapid growth of suburbs, people began moving onto the island in large numbers, many of them buying or building homes near the bridge, where a large concentration of modest-sized houses known as Jamestown Shores was established along Seaside Drive and inland side streets. The village continued its expansion, with new houses erected between Narragansett and Hamilton Avenues, and along Southwest Avenue. Small clusters of houses appeared in other areas. In the 1940s and 1950s mostly year-round houses went up in the Foley tract (formerly Wynwyc Brae) along the east shore south of Eldred Avenue.
Some of these were pre-1938 cottages rebuilt or replaced after the 1938 hurricane. Housing tracts were created in the recent past on Beaver Neck and along East Shore Road north of Eldred Avenue, these containing modest-sized houses on relatively small lots. The most ambitious post-World War II projects--East Passage and West Reach Estates--near the northern end of the island, are more akin to some of the late nineteenth-century developments; they feature curving, landscaped roads and large lots with substantial houses. Both developments, started in the 1970s, occupy land once owned by an oil company and originally meant to accommodate an oil refinery. The Newport Bridge, completed in 1969, put an end to ferry service, and, to some degree, was responsible for the island's population growth, but serves a greater role funneling through travelers across the island, especially during the summer months. The Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge, completed in 1992, replaced the 1940 bridge to the mainland.
Services, institutions, and businesses continued their evolution to keep up with the times. In 1960 a new St. Mark Church was erected for the island's Roman Catholic population and nearby, a new Episcopal church, St. Matthew's, replaced an earlier structure in 1968. A new library building, the Jamestown Philomenian Library, went up along North Main Road in 1971; in 1972 a museum for the display of Indian artifacts was added, a gift to the town from Catherine Morris Wright in memory of her husband. The village continues its role as a local shopping center. Most businesses use older buildings, but one commercial block, the Hunt Block, was replaced by a new structure in 1983-84. The nearby commercial building at the ferry landing was modernized, and the Bomes Theatre became the Bomes Theatre Mall in 1985 when its interior was remodeled to accommodate stores and a restaurant.
In the 1980s, the last of Jamestown's hotels underwent profound changes. The Harbor View Inn, built in 1887, was razed in 1984 and replaced by a condominium complex. The 1889 Bay View Hotel was torn down and replaced by another large structure in 1989. Similar in design but considerably larger than the old hotel, the new complex contains condominiums, and a restaurant. The Bay Voyage continues as a hotel but also includes time-sharing units.
Jamestown today is a quiet, primarily residential community. A large part of its population lives in the village which grew up between the East and West ferries. The rest of the year-round residents are scattered throughout the island with a concentration in Jamestown Shores. There are still a considerable number of summer homes in the Ocean Highlands-Walcott Avenue area, but there is no longer any part of the island that is strictly a summer colony. Recent housing on the island has been built mostly for year-round use. Jamestown's commercial center, located for many years adjacent to the East Ferry Landing, has gradually grown westward and now includes areas to the north and south of the junction of Narragansett Avenue with Southwest Avenue and North Main Road. A sense of the town's agricultural past can still be seen in the active farms on Windmill Hill, while along the bay and ocean in the southern part of Conanicut, the concrete bulwarks of former fortifications remain in place as reminders of the town's military past. Now, as part of the state park system, they serve a peaceful and passive recreational role. Dutch Island, also once an active military establishment, is now unoccupied and is part of the Bay Island Park system.
From its beginning, agriculture was the most important activity on Conanicut, Dutch, and Gould islands. Grazing was carried on at an early date, probably soon after Portsmouth was settled in 1638. Sheep and cattle were an important part of the economy for centuries. These animals brought prosperity to the islanders until the Revolutionary War, and agriculture remained a mainstay of the economy well into the nineteenth century.
The introduction of steam-powered boats, especially the Jamestown-Newport ferry in 1873, provided relatively easy access to the island and resulted in the establishment of several land development companies which created summer colonies at Conanicut Park and at the Ocean Highlands, as well as numerous house lots near the East Ferry landing to accommodate more transitory visitors. In the late 1890s, Shoreby Hill was platted and houses were erected there.
From the 1870s until World War II Jamestown was popular as a summer resort and recreation area, providing a variety of activities. Population remained concentrated in the village and surrounding area, while the rest of the island remained in farms and was relatively sparsely populated. Following the construction of the Jamestown Bridge in 1940, and during the prosperous 1950s, Jamestown continued its evolution and growth as a residential community. Most newcomers settled in a large development created near the bridge and spreading inland from the shore, while other smaller developments were built elsewhere. The number and acreage of farms diminished slowly but gradually, continuing a trend which had become apparent before the end of the nineteenth century.
The island's scenic beauty, particularly its rugged, romantic, southern ocean shore, draws many day trippers for fishing and relaxation. Camping facilities are afforded at the old Fort Getty site; Beaver Tail is a popular fishing spot offering exciting sights, sounds, and smells of the sea where surf and rock meet; and Fort Wetherill provides a quiet setting combined with lovely vistas of cliffs, water, and nearby Newport.
Construction of the Jamestown Bridge in 1940, and of the Newport Bridge in 1969, made the island easily accessible, and transformed the formerly little-traveled Eldred Avenue and a part of East Shore Road into modern thoroughfares that served primarily to funnel vehicular traffic across the island. Hotels lost their popularity after World War II. Of the two surviving hotels, one has become a time share hotel; the other has been converted to condominiums.
The completion of the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge in 1992 and the cross-island highway in 1995, insures the speedy flow of traffic through Jamestown's historic landscape.
While Jamestown has changed in the last three centuries, it retains a sense of the past, a rich cultural legacy of farms and farmhouses, lighthouses, fortifications, and an exceptionally rich number and variety of fine late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century houses and cottages unmatched by communities of similar size in the state. Conanicut's historic districts, structures, and sites are an important part of the town's heritage and they deserve special consideration in planning the town's future.
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THE STATE REGISTER AND THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government's official list of properties which are significant in American history and worthy of preservation. The State Historic Preservation Officer of each state identifies properties which may be eligible for the National Register and, with the approval of the State Review Board, submits them to the Secretary of the Interior for inclusion in the Register. The National Register is an important planning tool as well as a record of the physical remains of America's past. In Rhode Island, properties listed in the National Register are also included on the State Register.
The benefits of being in the National Register include official recognition of the property's importance; eligibility to apply for federal planning and restoration grants when funds are available; eligibility for federal investment tax credits for certified substantial rehabilitations of income-producing property; and protection from the adverse effects of state or federally funded or licensed projects through a review and assessment program.
Listing in the National Register is a tool to encourage the preservation and recognition of our national heritage. The Register is not intended to hinder progress; it is a reminder that the preservation and re-use of properties which give our towns and cities their identity are part of progress. Listing in the National Register does not require the owner to preserve or maintain the property. Unless the owner applies for and receives special federal or state benefits, she/he can do anything with the property which is permitted by local ordinances. Registration does not halt federal or state projects when these are shown to be in the public interest, but does require careful consideration and planning of such projects when they call for alteration or demolition of National Register properties.
The list below enumerates Jamestown properties entered in the National Register and properties which should receive further study for possible nomination to the National Register. The list of recommended properties should not be considered final. As new research is conducted, as the town changes physically, and as perceptions of the community's history evolve, other potential candidates for the National Register may be identified.
The following is a list of districts, structures, and sites entered in the National Register in the town of Jamestown; the date of entry is shown in parentheses:
Jamestown Archaeological District (12/10/89)
Windmill Hill Historic District, Eldred Avenue and North Main Road (10/2/78)
Conanicut Battery, Access Beavertail Road (7/2/73)
Beavertail Lighthouse, Beavertail Road (12/12/77)
Dutch Island Lighthouse, Dutch Island (south end of) (2/25/88)
Joyner Archaeological Site, (RI-706), Eldred Avenue (11/1/84)
Keeler Archaeological Site, (RI-707), Eldred Avenue (11/1/84)
Conanicut Island Lighthouse, 64 North Bay View Avenue (2/25/88)
Jamestown Windmill, North Road (3/14/73)
Artillery Park (and Churchyard Cemetery), North Road and Narragansett Avenue (3/7/73)
Friends Meeting House, North Road and Weeden Lane (3/7/73)
Fort Dumpling, Ocean Street (3/16/72)
The following properties deserve consideration and further study for entry in the National Register:
Bay View Drive Historic District
Conanicut Park Historic District
Dutch Island Historic District
Fox Hill Historic District
Ocean Highlands-Walcott Avenue Historic District
Shoreby Hill Historic District
J. Bertram Lippincott House, 177 Beavertail Road
Beavertail Farm, 601 Beavertail Road
Fort Burnside, Beavertail Road
Carr Homestead, 90 Carr Lane
Horgan Cottages, 17, 19, 23 Conanicus Avenue
J.D. Johnston House, 32 Coulter Street
Clingstone, off Dumpling Drive
Fowlers Rock, 340 East Shore Road
Cajacet/Captain Thomas Paine House, 850 East Shore Road
Fort Wetherill, Fort Wetherill Road
Lyman-Cottrell Farmhouse/Rock Hill Farm, 83 Hamilton Avenue
Greene Farm, 55 Longfellow Road
Riven Rock, 113 Melrose Avenue
Jamestown Town Pound, North Main Road
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INVENTORY OF HISTORIC RESOURCES
This inventory is an annotated list of some of the properties recorded by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission. These properties have special significance in the development of Jamestown because they document the patterns of its development or because they illustrate the architectural history of the town. Properties are listed by road or street in alphabetical order. Those which are part of an historic area are identified with a two-letter code:
BV Bay View Drive
CP Conanicut Park
DI Dutch Island
FH Fox Hill
GI Gould Island
OW Ocean Highlands-Walcott Avenue
SH Shoreby Hill
WH Windmill Hill
The key to symbols is as follows:
* properties entered on the National Register
** properties recommended for further study to determine eligibility for listing on the National Register
All inventoried properties are located on the town map or on a map of an historic area. Dating of structures was determined on the basis of plaques, written material, maps, knowledge of local residents, and style and materials of construction. Unless otherwise noted, all structures are of wood-frame construction, are flank gable and are wood clapboard-sided. Buildings are named for their original owner, where known, and for later significant owners, or for their use. Some names are derived from nineteenth-century maps.
|RED HOUSE (1898): An unusually compact, rectangular mass, this handsome, 2-story house has a flaring hip roof with deep eaves. The porch is carved out of the volume of the building, thereby continuing the simple, shingled form. There is a contrast here between the regularity of form and fenestration, the formality of the big rear Palladian window lighting the stair, and the summertime casualness of the cottage's shingling and fieldstone chimneys. This byplay was a facet of sophisticated country house design in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Designed for Margaret (Mrs. Henry S.) Potter of St. Louis, by Newport architect Creighton Withers, the Red House was one of the first houses built in the Shoreby Hill Development.|
|JAMES TAUSSIG COTTAGE (c. 1898): In contrast to the stylelessness of the Red House, the Taussig Cottage features a wealth of symmetrically disposed Colonial Revival detail. The cross-gabled, gambrel-roofed structure is complicated by an expansive front porch. The richness of its white painted detail is played off against the dwelling's gray shingles. James Taussig was one of the founders of the Jamestown Land Company, developers of Shoreby Hill.|
PASSAGE ESTATES (1978 et seq.): East Passage Estates,
located between East Shore Road and North Main Road, is a
large residential development. Although a recent
undertaking, in its scope and form the project has its
antecedents in such nineteenth-century Jamestown
real-estate speculations as nearby Conanicut Park and
Shoreby Hill. Designed by landscape architect Patrick
Brady, this development features two-acre lots on curving
residential streets, a small common beach at Cranston
Cove, and two man-made ponds. East Passage Estates and its
companion development, West Reach Estates, are noteworthy
for their sampling of dwellings representative of recent
architectural styles. These include the "shed" style and
several "neo" types such as neo-colonial, neo-French,
neo-Tudor, and neo-Mediterranean.
The estates began as a potential industrial venture in 1956 when Commerce Oil Company purchased more than 700 acres here for an oil refinery. Plans for the refinery were drawn up, but it never materialized, and the land remained idle for about eighteen years. In 1976 a zoning change allowed residential development on the Commerce Oil land, and the company created several residential areas, principally East Passage estates (in two sections), a 110-acre parcel; West Reach Estates, with 165 acres, between North Main Road and the West Passage of the Bay; and Bayview Park, a 28-acre tract east of the junction of East Shore Road and Eldred Avenue.
In 1978, the first section of East Passage Estates was opened. East Passage II, adjoining East Passage I, started several years later; its first house was completed in 1984. West Reach Estates and Bayview Park were opened in 1982.
|204||HAIKU HOUSE (1989): One of Jamestown's more unusual houses is this Haiku house, designed by Nikko Houses of Newport Beach, California, in the tradition of sixteenth-century Japanese country houses. This 2-1/2-story, hip-roofed example, with redwood vertical-board sides, has poles for supports and displays large boards that extend from the interior to beyond the cornice, in the tradition of many early twentieth-century bungalows.|
|BAY VIEW DRIVE HISTORIC DISTRICT|
|A small historic area, along Bay View Drive east of Conanicus Avenue, is comprised of several wood-shingled residences, all in a style common to Jamestown. Seven houses are sited along the shore of the East Passage, and five of the seven were constructed during the last two decades of the nineteenth century, when most of the island's shingle-style residences were built.|
|BAY VIEW DRIVE|
|FRANCIS D. WETHERILL HOUSE / DRIFTWOOD (1888): Driftwood is a cross-gambreled, shingle-clad, 1-1/2-story cottage on a small bayside lot. Simple and direct, without any extraneous detail, even the porch posts of this Shingle Style cottage are shingled.|
|FOLLY HOUSE (1886-87): This 2-1/2-story, shorefront, shingled summer house, its gable end facing the road, has a 2-1/2-story main section surrounded by a broad, shed-roofed porch, and a 1-1/2-story ell near the road. There is a hip-roof, wood-shingled garage close to the road. The house was built on Friendship Street and moved here in 1890.|
|JOSEPHINE COLE COTTAGE (1929): A 2-story, gambrel-roofed, wood shingled residence, with a hip-roofed piazza (now partially enclosed), and a gambrel-roofed, 2-story ell at the rear. Although a more recent addition to the district, this house is typical of Jamestown houses.|
CHARLES W. SEAVER COTTAGE / CONANICUT YACHT CLUB
(1889-90, 1916, 1955 el sec/.): A large, rambling,
shingled structure set on a large, grassy lot. The
road-facing side comprises a series of connected,
2-story, wood shingled parts, with an entry in a
hip-roofed portion at the right side. The
water-facing side is radically different due to
alterations -- continuous banks of windows in the
three tiers facing east across the club's dock to
Jamestown Harbor and the Bay. Built as a summer
cottage by Charles W. Seaver in 1889-90, it became
a summer boarding house in 1945, then was greatly
expanded for clubhouse use after 1955 by the
Conanicut Yacht Club, who also built the dock.
The island's first yacht club was organized in 1891 as the Conanicut Yacht Club. By 1894 a boathouse and a dock had been built a few blocks south of the East Ferry Landing. Racing, at first with gaff-rigged sailboats, was well underway by 1900. After Hurricane Carol ruined the club pier and weakened the clubhouse in 1954, it was decided to buy the present property, one-half mile north of the ferry. The club remains here today.
|A. LAWRENCE WETHERILL COTTAGE / SPINDRIFT (1896-97): With its multiple gables, tall, exterior, fieldstone chimneys, ample size and prominent site, this summer house, set back from the road, is a landmark on the Jamestown waterfront. It was designed by architect Stanford White of New York and built for A.L. Wetherill of Philadelphia.|
|MARY REMEY WADLEIGH COTTAGE / THE QUARTERDECK (1927): Designed by "Ritter of Boston" and built by Thomas D. Wright, this L-plan chalet-like house, its shingles painted white, was moved here from Conanicus Avenue in 1941. It has been in the Wadleigh family since 1927. The house is well back from the road, its proximity to the shore affording a commanding view of Rose Island to the east.|
|PASCHAL HACKER COTTAGE / BRYRSTANE (1885-86): Bryrstane (which may incorporate a much earlier dwelling) is a large, 2-1/2-story, gable-on-hip-roofed, shingle-clad, winterized house, with three brick chimneys, one in each of the three parts of the house. Its unprepossessing entrance front, commanding the summit of a broad lawn sweeping down to a private beach, gives no hint of the magnificence of its water side, particularly the view of the nearby Newport Bridge.|
CONANICUT BATTERY / PROSPECT HILL FORT,
PROSPECT HILL FIRE CONTROL STATION (1776
and later): Along the west side of Beaver
Neck, overlooking the West Passage, are
the earthwork remains of several
fortifications. Just west of a parking
lot, at the highest elevation, is a
multi-sided structure. It measures 150 by
75 feet at its longest dimension, and 100
by 50 feet at its shortest. This site was
used as an observation post and a
communications facility during World War
II. The immediate area is cleared of
vegetation. Below this, and accessible
only by a path, is a large field, with a
curving earthworks, erected during the
Conanicut Battery was ordered built by Americans in May, 1776, and fitted with six to eight heavy cannons to be used to defend the passage between Conanicut and Dutch Islands. A companion battery at Bonnet Point on the opposite shore was constructed to defend the passage between Dutch Island and the mainland. The Conanicut fort was captured by the British during their occupation of Rhode Island (1776-79) and reportedly occupied and rebuilt; upon their departure the British destroyed the magazines, and the abandoned fort was left to decay. It was never rebuilt. Although it never saw combat, the battery is significant as one of several Revolutionary War-era Narragansett Bay fortifications.
The old fort later became part of a broader twentieth-century military network in the bay. In 1916 the U.S. Government acquired eighteen acres at Prospect Hill; in 1921 the holdings here were increased. Six in-ground concrete observation posts were installed which were actively used in the 1940s as a communications link for operations of the Mine Command.
The fortification at Prospect Hill is a good example of the hurried military preparations made by the colonists in 1776 and is Jamestown's most tangible link to the war for independence.
MR & MRS J. BERTRAM LIPPINCOTT HOUSE /
MEERESBLICK (1893-93); Pritchett &
Pritchett of Philadelphia designed this
complex comprised of a fieldstone and
shingle dwelling, and an accompanying
guest-carriage house, sited near the
road. A former windmill stands across
the road. Both the residence and
carriage house are L-shaped structures,
simple in overall form but made unique
by eccentric flourishes like upturned
gable peaks of quasi-Art Nouveau and
Crafts inspiration. The panelled
interior of the house, originally
furnished by Wilbour Brothers, continues
the Art and Crafts aesthetic with
considerable skill and consistency.
The Lippincott House is the only building erected in the never-realized Conanicut Reserve Development. Lippincott was president of the J.B. Lippincott publishing company. His wife Joanna was the daughter of Joseph Wharton; their summer cottage here stands near the northwest end of Mackerel Cove facing south toward the big Wharton house, erected a decade earlier at Horsehead, at the southeast approach to the cove.
|189||J. BERTRAM LIPPINCOTT HOUSE / THE MOORINGS (1916-17): Built for J. Bertram Lippincott. and still in the Lippincott family, the Moorings, despite alterations, is an impressively ample, yet simple, shingled bungalow-a fine example of a Jamestown house. The gable roof kicks out over a long porch facing Mackerel Cove.|
|282||AUDLEY CLARKE FARMHOUSE (1923): The Clarke farmhouse is a rambling, 1-1/2-story, gambrel-roofed, shingled structure resembling more a series of farm outbuildings than a residence. Peter Blackwell was the builder of this structure which was designed to resemble an old house that stood across the road. The property, including a field south of the house, is separated from the road by a stone wall.|
CRAIG RICHARDSON HOUSE (1988-89):
Designed by Craig Richardson, this is
a modern, 2-story, wood-shingled
residence, set back from the road,
along the west side of Mackerel Cove,
that incorporates elements from
several traditional American styles,
including the Shingle Style. Some of
the playful elements of this eclectic
house include a series of square,
barn-like windows in the gable end at
the west side (the entrance end);
multiple varied gables at the east
(water-facing) side; a square stone
chimney set at an angle to the ridge
line; and stonework facades on some of
the courtyard-facing surfaces. The
stones are fieldstones that worked
themselves up through the soil on
Joseph Dutra's Windmill Hill farm.
Landscaping includes a vegetable,
perennial, and herb garden, and edge
plantings. The house is on part of the
former Audley Clarke Farm, which was
used as a golf course earlier in the
CLARKE'S VILLAGE (1946): A cluster of small, plain, frame cottages. A fishing camp was established in 1946 by Arthur S. Clarke of Jamestown who moved several small cottages here from Bates Sanitarium. In the 1950s a group of masons from Cranston built cottages on the north side of the street for their families to use. They all worked on each of the cottages, which they constructed of different kinds of masonry.
|**601||BEAVERTAIL FARM (c. 1904): Beavertail Farm is centered on a large, 2-1/2-story, gambrel-roofed. Shingle Style building with a front porch across the south side and part of the east side, and a pair of overscaled gabled dormers. The house occupies a severely-plain grassy lot relatively close to the road. A long 1-1/2-story, gambrel ell terminates in a shingle and fieldstone porte-cochere. The handsome matching shingled barn, built in 1913, backs up to the road. Joseph Wharton purchased the farm in 1899 when it appeared that his summer house at Horsehead would be taken by the government for Fort Wetherill.|
FORT BURNSIDE, Harbor Entrance
Control Post, Battery 213, Battery
Whiting (1942 et seq.): This fort
was established in 1942 at
Beavertail Point, a militarily
strategic position where
Narragansett Bay meets the ocean. In
August, the Government took 118
acres of land here, north of the
lighthouse. In December the fort was
named in honor of Ambrose E.
Burnside, Civil War general,
prominent Rhode Island
industrialist, and former governor
of the state. The three most
significant structures erected here
during the early years of World War
II were the Harbor Entrance Command
Post (HECP), Battery 213, and
Battery Whiting. The HECP, long
unused, is occupied by a caretaker;
the two batteries are covered with a
thick growth of vegetation.
HARBOR ENTRANCE CONTROL POST (1943 et seq.): The Harbor Entrance Control Post (HECP) is a 2-story, L-shaped, 70-by-57-by-42-foot building with an observation bridge containing eye-level windows along the perimeter, and a deck house on the roof. The exterior construction materials are stucco on concrete, with cedar shingles, and reinforced concrete. The building occupies a 6.8-acre site near the lighthouse.
The HECP was established here in July, 1941. The post, responsible to the harbor defense commander at Fort Adams, was to report and identify all ships approaching or seeking entry to Narragansett Bay. In early 1942 two Navy submarine detector loops--90,000 feet of magnetic cable--ere laid out in the water a few miles south of Beavertail Point and connected to a receiving station at the HECP (until July 16, 1944, when they were removed). Temporary quarters were also established in a small wooden structure until 1943, when the present building, disguised as a neo-Colonial building, was erected to serve as an observation and traffic control headquarters. It contained underwater sound detection equipment, radar, radio, visual observation equipment, and searchlights to coordinate and control all traffic entering and leaving the Bay, and housing for personnel. The maximum strength of the post, nine officers and forty enlisted men, was attained in the summer of 1943. The HECP, disestablished June 27, 1945, is a significant structure because of its unique design--reinforced concrete walls camouflaged with cedar shingles, and three false windows--and its historical function as an important defense center for Narragansett Bay.
BATTERY 213 (1943): This facility was one of three sites in the Narragansett Bay area chosen for the establishment of modern gun batteries. Two fully shielded six-inch guns in barbette carriages were set on concrete pads in an open field 200 feet apart. Between was a bombproof, earth-covered concrete reinforced structure that included powder and shell rooms and spotting and plotting rooms. Battery 213 commanded the West Passage of Narragansett Bay.
BATTERY WHITING (1943): This facility, constructed along the east side of Beavertail Point, facing Brenton Point, was assigned to guard and protect mine fields in the East Passage of the Bay. Like Battery 213, concrete gun pads (these only 100 feet apart) provided steady platforms for three-inch guns, and a concrete, earth-covered structure between was used as a small magazine and as a battery command facility.
BEAVERTAIL LIGHTHOUSE (1856):
Beaver-tail Lighthouse occupies
rocky, windswept, narrow
Beavertail Point at the southern
end of Conanicut. The site has
accommodated a coastal beacon for
almost three centuries. Today the
site contains five buildings and
the remains of a sixth. Most
prominent and most important is
the 52-foot lighthouse tower, a
10-foot square, straight-sided,
stone structure with three window
openings in the walls. It is
surmounted by a decagonal,
iron-clad lantern room. The gray
walls, of two different lengths of
granite block (eight feet and ten
feet), are arranged to create a
quoined effect at the corners. The
other significant buildings here,
both 2-story, hip-roofed,
stuccoed-brick structures are the
1856 keeper's house and the
assistant keeper's house, built in
1898; the light was automated in
Beavertail Point has been the site of beacons and lighthouses since the early eighteenth century. Colonial records refer to a watch house at Beavertail in 1705, while orders for building a beacon and maintaining a regular watch at Beavertail are recorded in a 1712 document. In 1749, a wooden tower, 58 feet to the cornice plus 11 feet more for the light, was constructed under the direction of Peter Harrison of Newport, one of America's eminent architects. It was the third lighthouse erected in the colonies. The building burned in 1753 and was replaced by a 64-foot high fieldstone tower, completed in 1755. Burned by the British in their evacuation from Newport in 1779, the lighthouse was repaired in 1783-84 and was used until 1856, when the present tower was constructed.
The Beavertail Lighthouse was chosen as the site of several experiments to improve lighthouse operations. In 1817-18 the lantern was fitted with a lamp which burned a gas manufactured by heating tar and rosin over a coal fire. It was probably the first use of gas as a lighthouse illuminant, although the original oil lamp was refitted after the trial period. Several experimental types of fog signals were installed at Beavertail, the first in 1851. A whistle and fog trumpet, operated with compressed air, were left in place. A steam whistle was later tested, but proved unsatisfactory, and was replaced about 1866 by a reed trumpet. An improved version of the steam whistle, erected in 1881, was very successful. The installation of the whistle/air trumpet and the steam whistle at Beavertail were the first of their types in the United States.
The original beacon, a fixed white light produced by an oil lamp, was converted several times, in 1899 to a flashing white light, to an electric lamp in 1931, and finally to a 45,000-candlepower electric lamp with a flashing green light with a range of 17 miles. The lantern is 45 feet above ground and 64 feet above sea level.
The southern tip of Conanicut which includes the lighthouse, is owned by the State of Rhode Island and operated as part of the state park system. A lighthouse museum is located here.
|6||C. LLOYD THOMAS HOUSE / GREY ROCK (I960): A long, low, flat-roofed house, with vertical siding. Designed by Robert Small and modeled on the Motel on the Mountain in Mahwah, New Jersey, the Thomas House reflects the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. Architecturally this is one of Jamestown's finer post-World War II cottages. It was built by John Rembijas.|
|104||THOMAS A. TODD HOUSE / CLOUDTOP (c. 1975): Designed by architect Thomas A. Todd as his summer house, Cloudtop exemplifies what has been called the "mineshaft modern" aesthetic. Its most unique feature is a rooftop observation platform reached by an exterior stair. It is one of a small number of innovative contemporary houses on the island.|
REMAINS OF STEAMBOAT WHARF: At
the east end of Broad Street
there is a jumble of large
rocks jutting out into the
water. They mark the site of
the former steamboat wharf and
landing that made Conanicut
Park possible. Although little
evidence remains of the wharf
itself, the large rocks that
clearly mark the site are like
a number of others in
Narragansett Bay that indicate
old waterfront structures that
were built from colonial times
to the early twentieth century
to accommodate ferryboats,
steamers, excursion boats,
coastal vessels, whaling
ships, and a host of other
The steamboat landing was built by the developers of Conanicut Park and owned by them until 1907. During the time of active use, the steamers Riverhel/e, Bay Queen, City of Newport, and General, among others, stopped at Conanicut Park; A waiting station stood near the head of the wharf. It was probably torn down soon after 1910. The deeds to the wharf and Broad Street were turned over to the town in 1907. In that year the town built a new wharf. It was last used in the 1930s by the steamer Mount Hope which then arrived at the park only on weekends.
|9||ADMIRAL CLARICE H. WELLS COTTAGE/LONGWOOD (1886-87): This shingled, 1-1/2-story, Queen Anne summer residence has a porch facing the bay and a rear elevation with an exaggerated second-story overhang. Behind the house, which backs up to Bryer Avenue, is a diminutive board-and-batten carriage shed. C.L. Bevins, Jamestown's gifted resident architect, designed this cottage for Wells.|
|12||QUONSET HUT (mid-20th century): A typical metal-clad Quonset hut, one of many built throughout Rhode Island following the building's extensive use during World War II. This hut, with its broad side along the road, is a relatively well preserved, good example of a once-important type.|
|29||MARY M. PARKER HOUSE (1913-14): This house, the quintessential Jamestown bungalow, has a low-pitched gable roof, which kicks out over a deep front porch; a low shed dormer; and wood shingling on every available surface save the roof (which has been redone in composition shingle rather than wood). It is devoid of ornament. Its landscaping is ample and casual. Mary Parker was the wife of Commodore James P. Parker.|
CARR HOMESTEAD (late 18th
century): A 2-1/2-story
traditional early Rhode
Island farmhouse, with a
large, brick, center
chimney, shingled sides, and
a central entry, with
transom lights, in a 5-bay
facade. The lot includes a
corn crib, sheds, and fine
stone walls. The date 1776,
carved over the doorway of
the house, is debatable. It
may have been built somewhat
later in the eighteenth
century; since then it has
been owned by the Carr
family. The property was
established as a farm and
continued in agricultural
use well into the twentieth
century. A long, narrow
1-story building west of the
house is the former
Quononoquott Dairy, which
was operated from the late
1930s to 1945 by Alfred and
Maria (Molly) Can-Bowser.
The Jamestown Philomenian Library Association, incorporated in 1847, kept its books here in a cupboard at the head of the back stairs. Known affectionately as "The Homestead," this farmhouse has been a gathering place for many generations of Carrs. It is presently owned by the Carr Homestead Foundation which makes it available to Carr descendants for summer vacations as a means of preserving family traditions and acquainting younger generations with their ancestors' way of life.
|CEDAR HILL DRIVE|
CEDAR HILL FARM (late 17th
century, et seq): Cedar
Hill Farm, at the north
end of the Windmill Hill
occupies a rise that
overlooks the lower-lying
Watson Farms and commands
a view southward across
the island to the Newport
Bridge and Jamestown
Village. The farm complex
is set well back from
Eldred Avenue, where stone
walls line the road and
fieldstone posts mark the
former driveway entry.
Centering the farm complex
is the c. 1870 George C.
Carr House, a 2-1/2-story,
residence with a 1-story
veranda across the east
side, and 1-1/2- and
2-1/2-story additions. The
house has a traditional
center hall plan. A
ten-foot high stone
retaining wall built into
the hillside elevated the
house above the
surrounding land and
provided it with a level
terraced garden. Adjacent
to the house, grouped in
farmyards enclosed by
dry-laid stone walls, are
outbuildings�a shed, a
corn crib, a barn, a
lean-to sheep shelter, a
chicken coop and a
garage�dating from the
late nineteenth to the
In 1988 the farm's land
was cut up for a housing
development. The new
houses, designed by John
Sigrist in a variety of
surround the old farmhouse
In the seventeenth century, the farm was part of a larger farm, purchased late in that century by Caleb Carr (1624-1695), a Newport merchant, Quaker leader, and governor of the colony in 1695, and one of the original proprietors of Jamestown. The land went to his son Nicholas (1654-1709), who passed it on to his son Thomas (1696-1776). He built a house about 1720. His farm was typical of those of the period on Conanicut. It produced corn, barley, and oats, and livestock. The western half of the farm went to Thomas's son, Benjamin, in 1764. When Thomas died, the remaining seventy acres were inherited by Nicholas Carr (1732-1813). Nicholas Carr's son Thomas (1772-1837) took over the farm before his father's death in 1813. It was next inherited by Thomas Carr's nephew George C. Carr (1818-1900), who expanded his interests beyond running the family farm. He served for several terms as a state senator, was a member and president of the town council, organized and was president of the Ocean Highlands Land Company, and was president of the Jamestown and Newport Ferry Company in 1888. About 1870 George Carr tore down the dilapidated ancestral home and replaced it with a new house. After George Carr's death in 1900, the property was inherited by his son, John Anthony Carr, who devoted his life solely to agricultural pursuits and sheep raising. John Carr died in 1937.
|74||SERGEANT BENJAMIN MORRELL HOUSE (1890s): A 2-1/2-story, shingled residence, set gable end to the street, with a large shed roof dormer at each side and a 1-story, hip-roofed porch across the front and right side. The house is significant as the former residence of Sergeant Benjamin Morrell, a Black man who fought in the Indian wars in the western United States and who was stationed on Dutch Island in 1889. He purchased several properties on Clarke Street beginning in 1889; by 1913 he owned two houses on this lot. Booker T. Washington, who visited at the Clarke Street house, is said to have been Sgt. Morrell's father-in-law.|
|54||CAPTAIN PHILIP CASWELL HOUSE (c. 1872): A 1-1/2-story, mansard-roofed residence with a flat-roofed piazza across the front. It was built by Captain Philip Caswell after he retired from operating the sail ferry to Newport. Later it was the residence of his grandson, William F. Caswell, who served as town clerk from 1891 to 1907, and was later postmaster.|
|10||CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH / MOUNT ZION AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH (1868): A 1-1/2-story plain meeting house, set gable end to the street, with a central entry with a molded cap, in a 3-bay facade, and a small, square belfry near the front. The Central Baptist Church Society, organized in 1867, built this church building at the southeast comer of Narragansett and Southwest Avenues. When it was moved here in 1890 it became an A.M.E. church. In 1988 the building was remodeled for residential use.|
|80||JOHN QUINN HOUSE (c. 1971): Combining rustic weathered sheathing and severe geometric massing and fenestration, the John Quinn House presents a tall, plain facade to the street; in back, the wedge-shaped building opens out as a series of stepped window walls and balconies. This residence is the work of Rhode Island architect William Burgin, who designed it while still an architecture student at the Rhode Island School of Design.|
|83||THE CASTLE (1883-83): This unusual structure comprises two separate and distinct parts, a typical, rather plain, 2-1/2-story section, and a castellated, octagonal, 3-story tower, finished with a machicolated roof deck at the right front corner of the house. Dr. V. Mott Francis built this structure, called the Castle in the 1887 tax book, as a summer residence.|
|9||DR. H.J. RHETT COTTAGE / THE QUONONOQUOT CLUB (1901): A 1-1/2-story, shingled, gambrel-roofed cottage set behind a stone wall. The Rhett Cottage, designed by Mantel Fielding of Philadelphia and built by F.A. Alien of Newport, originally stood on another part of this lot. In 1901 it was Jamestown's "new casino," a club and dining room for cottages in the neighborhood. In 1905 it became the summer home of Dr. Rhett, of New Orleans. In 1931 it was moved to its present site.|
MORGAN COTTAGES / THE
THREE SISTERS (1897):
residences, a compact
row of end-gable,
cottages of standard,
vaguely Queen Anne
design, each with a
handsome porch, form
elevated site and
slope of the land
makes each actually
3-1/2 stories tall in
front and provides
them all with a view
of the nearby harbor.
Patrick Morgan, who built the cottages, was a Newport contractor and real-estate developer. Originally, these nearly identical cottages were rented out as part of Morgan's Hotel Thorndike. The hotel stood nearby. Named Betty, Nina and Myra for the three Horgan daughters, the cottages eventually were inherited by their namesakes. Reportedly they had the first electric lights in Jamestown.
|U.S.O. BUILDING/JAMESTOWN RECREATION BUILDING AND POLICE DEPARTMENT/SITE OF GARDNER HOUSE (1941-43): A large, 1-1/2-story, shingled structure, set above and gable end to the road, with projecting, 1-story, flat-roofed entrance and side wings. The site was occupied for many decades by the Gardner House, constructed in 1883, one of several large late nineteenth-century hotels at the East Ferry (the Thorndike Hotel occupied the adjacent lot, between Union and Lincoln Streets). The old Gardner Hotel was demolished in 1941. The present structure, built as a United Services Organization (USO) center, was opened for use by servicemen in 1942; it operated as a service recreation facility until 1946. Since then it has housed the recreation center and, until recently, the Jamestown Police Department.|
|47||HUNT BLOCK (1981): This building, at the intersection of Narragansett Avenue opposite the East Ferry Landing, is a long, 2-1/2-story commercial/residential condominium. The site was originally occupied by Albert Caswell's Riverside Hotel, built in 1889. After a destructive fire in 1894 the hotel was replaced by a block of stores known as the Caswell Block, then renamed the Hunt Block for Thomas Hunt, who owned the property for a number of years. Designed by Estes/Burgin Partnership of Providence, the new condominium block was built in 1981. Its ground floor facade is a replica of the earlier commercial block.|
JAMESTOWN BAY VIEW
(1989): At the
east end of
avenue, at the
Landing, is a
in 1989, replacing
an earlier hotel
and a hotel annex
on the site.
The first Bay View Hotel, a 2-1/2-story, mansard-roofed structure, with first and second floor porches, was built about 1873 by W.H. Knowles. In 1889 Knowles' son, Adolphus, built the adjoining large Bay View Hotel, perhaps the island's finest, to the east of the original building, on the site of the Ellery Ferry House. Knowles had moved the late eighteenth-century Ferry House to Knowles Court, where it was used to house hotel employees. The new hotel, 4 1/2-stories tall, with a tower, and porches at all four floors and with room for 200 guests, was a prominent landmark at the corner of Conanicus and Narragansett Avenues. The Bay View, along with the Thorndike Hotel and the Gardner Hotel, dominated the East Ferry area. Boosted by the ferry trade, the hotels prospered until about 1920, then went into decline. The Thorndike Hotel and Gardner House were demolished in 1938 and 1941, respectively. The original Bay View Hotel, last occupied as a hotel in the 1960s, was converted to a commercial building with offices and a store in 1975. After several unsuccessful attempts to renovate the old hotel, it was sold to Ronald J. Jobin, builder and land salesman for Commerce Oil Company, and Donald Loomis, the company's president, in 1984. In the following year, both former Bay View hotels were demolished.
The new structure was designed by ADD, Inc., of Cambridge. Massachusetts, to resemble the old one--steep roof lines, Victorian trim, and the large tower were retained. Shallow porches now suggest the look of the old hotel's porch. The building's skeleton of concrete and steel is wrapped in a wood shingle exterior. The new building is elevated fifteen feet above the mean high water mark, about ten feet higher than the old hotel: underneath is a ground-floor 84-car garage. Roughly twice the size of the old hotel, Bay View Condominiums was planned to contain thirty-five living units and restaurant. Renovations were completed in 1989, the 100th anniversary of the old Bay View Hotel.
|SHOREBY HILL CLUB / JAMESTOWN CASINO (c. 1898): This 1-1/2-story, L-plan, shingled Colonial Revival structure, which boasts both gable and gambrel roof forms, occupies a large open lot at the entrance to Shoreby Hill. Built in the late 1890s on Priscilla Road, and known as the Shoreby Hill Club, it was moved to its present site in 1911 when it became The Casino; a large ballroom was added. In the 1930s it functioned as a social center with music, game rooms, and a dining area for summer residents. When it was later sold for a private residence the ballroom was removed. Despite alterations, the building retains handsome detail, notably its porches, twin bay windows, and a Palladian gable window.|
|141||BEACH HAVEN / THE BUNGALOW (1886-87): This large, 1-1/2-story, shingled. Queen Anne bungalow is dominated by an immense encircling porch. Large dormers, one with a balcony, enliven the roof. The summer cottage, designed by C.L. Bevins, was built for Dr. David Kindleberger of the United States Navy, who, according to an 1888 newspaper, spent his summers sketching and painting. The cottage, built for his comfort, "might be described as a piazza with the house inside, so broad are the verandas."|
|150||BAY VOYAGE HOTEL (1860, 1889-90): The oldest part of this complex, sited along the road at the intersection of Bay View Drive, is a foursquare, 2-1/2-story, shingled, mansard-roof structure. Originally a country house, designed by George C. Mason, prominent Newport architect, and known as Rhoda Ridge, located on Brown's Lane at Middletown Heights across the bay, it was moved here by scow in two sections by its owner, James A. Brown, in 1889. Brown then attached a large annex accommodating the dining room and additional bedrooms. The 1890 thirty-room addition gave the hotel forty bedrooms. One of several hotels at or near the East Ferry, the Bay Voyage still stands today. However, although the exterior largely retains its nineteenth-century appearance, the interior of the building was thoroughly renovated. In 1987 the new building opened as a time-sharing resort and hotel.|
|211||IDA KNOWLES HOUSE (1890-91): A pleasant, 2-1/2-story, hip-roofed, late Queen Anne dwelling, with cross gables, a corner turret, and an enveloping porch distinguished by a Japanesque balustrade. The house design is attributed by some to Adolphus C. Knowles because of its distinctive porch brackets. In 1895, soon after its construction, it was the residence of Mrs. Ida Knowles, sister-in-law of Adolphus.|
|CONANICUT PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT|
of the late
dozen or so
houses and two
date from the
years of the
1873 and 1875)
added in the
Conanicut Park was the brainchild of Lucius D. Davis, publisher of the Newport Daily News, some-time real estate entrepreneur, and former Methodist minister. Methodism is not incidental here, for the inspiration for Conanicut Park (and Davis's earlier and similar Newport development, the Cliffe Cottage Association) was the Methodist camp meeting and most particularly Wesleyan Grove on Martha's Vineyard. A number of Providence and Newport investors backed the Davis-conceived Conanicut Park scheme, the most important being Governor Henry Lippitt, the Providence textile magnate, who became president of the company; Davis was the company's secretary, treasurer, and agent.
In 1872 the investors purchased about 500 acres at the northern tip of the island, the site of the early eighteenth-century Brinley farmhouse and the Point Farm, noted for its unusually large apple orchard. The park site was bounded on the west, north, and east by the waters of Narragansett Bay. From the two-and-a-half mile long shoreline the land slopped gently upward to an elevation of about 100 feet at the intersection of Narragansett Avenue, Highland Avenue, and Conanicut Avenue. Most of the land was well drained except for a swampy area of about 30 acres in the southeast part of the Park.
John H. Mullin, a topographical engineer and surveyor, was engaged in 1873 to design and lay out the property, which combined the "delights of upland and ocean." Mullin's elegant plans for the resort provided for parks with ornamental plantings (more than 30,000 trees were planted), a commercial area near the steamboat wharf, a large residential area, and an intricate system of roads (more than 12 miles of streets were laid out), including a picturesque shore drive along the east shore of the island. The most striking feature of the proposed Park was a large number of very small, rectangular lots. The 2,098 lots platted averaged about 5,000 square feet, or about 50 by 100 feet and were priced at $150 each. Other interesting features of the Park included an elliptical section around "Sunnyside Park," which was to occupy the swamp; adjacent Conanicut Meadow; and the Commons and Woodlawn Farm in the western section of the tract. The company constructed the Conanicut Park Hotel (which could accommodate 100 guests), several cottages, and, along the eastern shore, a large and substantial wharf with a waiting room to serve as a steamboat landing.
The Park's location near the northern end of the island was near the daily run of the Providence, Fall River, and Newport Steamboat Company's passenger steamer that ran between Providence and Newport. Another passenger steamer, General, running between Newport and Wickford (where it made train connections to the main line of the railroad which ran between Boston and New York), also passed close to this end of Conanicut Island, and for many years brought the mail to the Park. Other steamers servicing the Park included the Riverhelle, Day Sta, Bay Queen and City of Newport. The Providence Sunday Journal of August 7, 1887, stated that "The Conanicut Parkers have an important advantage over the Jamestowners' in that the steamboats touching at the Park wharf go to Providence as well as to Newport and Prudence Island and Rocky Point also."
Irving Watson provided a contemporary description of the Park in his 1873 guidebook:
About two hundred lots were taken before the surveys were fully completed and a force of builders is at work putting up cottages. Six or eight miles of streets will soon be completed, and by another season it is expected there will be a large number of residents on the grounds. Many more would now be present were it possible to find accommodations.
In April, 1873, cottage lots went on sale. Deeds stipulated that a cottage of a style approved by the company be built within a year and that adjoining lots be landscaped. There were penalties for non-compliance with provisions of the deed. Within a month, 30 lots were sold and modest frame cottages were going up, among them 947, 1026, and 1031 East Shore Road. The first two of these were built by investors and, though small, were decorated with fancy woodwork. The third cottage was less elaborate; with its simple rectangular shape, end-gable roof, and second-story balcony, barge board and porch, it was clearly inspired by camp-meeting cottages like those at Wesleyan Grove. Worth & Brazier, a contracting firm based on Martha's Vineyard, built at least five Conanicut Park cottages. At least three survive, 883, 887, and 900 East Shore road, all dating from 1873-74. Number 887, the so-called Chapel House, is a characteristic example of the Wesleyan Grove Gothic cottage.
Initially, 1,000 lots were sold at auction. Many were acquired on speculation while a smaller number were purchased by individuals who wished to build summer houses. A creation of the real estate boom of the opening years of the 1870s, Conanicut Park fell victim to the Panic of 1873. When prosperity returned in the late 1870s, Conanicut Park was unable to recover. It was too isolated, too large, and with over 2,000 cottage sites, potentially too heavily developed.
Although a well-planned community, perhaps its failure was as much due to its limited aspirations. Its goals (and houses) were modest in contrast to the housing developments across the bay in Newport and at the southern end of the island, where out-of-staters built larger and more elegant houses, many designed by locally-prominent architects. Samuel Drake, in his 1875 book about the New England coast, described Conanicut Park as a cottage city "accessible to people who do not keep footmen or carriages, or give champagne breakfasts." In a similar vein, the Reverend Frederick Denison's 1880 book found the Park to be a place with varied avenues and drives affording delightful and picturesque views of islands, channels, the ocean, and the hills of the main land...This place", he continued, "is designed for private residence--summer homes--and not for public parades, the flaunts of fashion, and the confusion of excursion parties; it is a charming place for quiet and genteel family residences; the Elysium along the shore.
During the decade of the 1880s, about six more cottages were built. Like their predecessors, these exhibited typical Victorian detailing such as patterned shingles and other forms of decorated exterior siding, towers, and fancy carpenterwork. The finest buildings constructed were the hotel and Charles Fletcher's cottage (which later became a hotel or inn).
In the 1880s the focus of Jamestown resort development shifted to the southern end of the island. Financial difficulties in 1888 brought about the reorganization of the Conanicut Land Company. In 1889 the hotel and other buildings and land owned by the company were offered at public auction and were purchased by Governor Henry Lippitt. Three cottages and a farmhouse were built in the next three years, but bright prospects for the Park appear to have dimmed when Lippitt died in 1891; his heirs were not interested in continuing the Conanicut Park project.
Mariana Tallman, who traveled around Rhode Island in the early 1890s in search of "pleasant places," started her Conanicut Island junket at the Park, which she said, "is emphatically a place of rest." The grounds of the "pleasant and well managed" hotel were cleared to the water's edge, forming a real "park." The hotel itself "perched invitingly among the old trees up the slope, a pretty bit of color with its light gray walls and red turrets, and its pillared veranda green and shady with masses of woodbine". However, she found Charles Fletcher's spacious cottage the most imposing of all. With its round tower, clustering verandas and handsome lawns, it was closed in by a dense hedge of evergreens from the too wild blasts of the east wind. Tallman was also impressed by the "Seaside Cottage." Established in 1878 by the Providence Fountain Street Society, the cottages had an "admirable arrangement by which tired, ill or not over-wealthy city women and children might have a week or two of change and absolute rest," for $3.00 per week. The few quiet cottages here were in "excellent taste."
In the 1890s the Park was almost exclusively serviced by steamboats. Arrangements could be made with the Wickford ferry boat, and one could steam to Providence at night and to Newport in the morning.
Conanicut Park was on the market again in 1900. The heirs of Henry Lippitt then owned about 430 acres that included the wharf, the hotel, four cottages, an ice house, and large farms. The seasonal population at that time was about 300. The Conanicut Park Hotel (whose heyday was in the 1870s and 1880s) was sold at auction in 1899; in 1908 it was razed. In 1909 an approximately 385-acre tract containing 1,579 building lots, a waiting station, two houses, and a steamboat landing, as well as other improvements, was up for auction.
In 1910 the Lippitt heirs sold their holdings. The property remained intact for another 20 years or so, but changed owners several times. The last attempt to deal with the entire tract as a unit was made in 1927 when it was acquired by George C. Wilbur, who hoped to transform it into a stylish seaside country club, but this plan failed. Finally, in 1932 the large tract was divided up and sold at auction.
Today a number of the Park's early and original structures are still standing, including 15 of the 20 earliest houses. Five of the six 1880s cottages are still extant, as are two carriage houses which were converted into residential use. The lighthouse, used as a navigational aid from 1886 to 1933, is also a residence now. A farmhouse and a cottage from the 1890s are still standing.
Gone now are the chapel, hotel, wharf, ferryboat waiting room, ice house, and stables. Camp Seaside, a YWCA camp, closed in 1970. All but one of the camp's old cottages have been replaced and some of the later camp buildings have been remodelled for residential use; the surviving cottage is now a private residence.
Because only a small number of cottages were ever erected, and these went up at odd intervals along East Shore Road and some side roads, they appear more as individual cottages rather than as a unified group. Although a few cottages have been altered from their original appearance, and the important Conanicut Park Hotel was demolished, Charles Fletcher's fine residence still stands, as do many of the cottages. These extant buildings are a legacy of an important era in the history of the state, when Conanicut Park was one of several "steamboat colonies." Despite the fact that Conanicut Park had very limited success and that only some of what was created there survives, it has interest and significance as the first and most self-contained of the resort developments which ultimately transformed Jamestown. Conanicut Park is of interest, further, because the island's oldest summer cottages are to be found there. Finally, the basic layout, or plan, of the Park is still preserved as shown on the town's present plat map. The old features still shown include the elliptical road pattern around Sunnyside Park, which is still shown as a park; the 32-acre section in the southern part of the Park, originally conceived as "Island Park;" and most of the 1873 road pattern.
|37||BUNGALOW (c. 1920): This 1-story, hip-roofed, shingled bungalow at the corner of Cross Street is noteworthy for its carpenterwork porch brackets.|
|**32||J.D. JOHNSTON HOUSE / DAYBREAK COTTAGE (1911): This very handsome, Japanesque, shingle-clad bungalow, with broad overhanging eaves, and a matching garage, is said to have been designed as a birthday gift for his wife by J.D. Johnston, a Newport architect and builder. Johnston's wife was 90 when she sold the property in 1954 to James F. Hyman. The bungalow occupies a relatively narrow and long lot whose long dimension extends from the end of a dead-end street to the water. Along the south side of the property is a row of maples.|
|25||WOTHERSPOON HOUSE (1897): A 1-1/2-story, shingled. Colonial Revival residence, its gambrel end facing the road fronted by a semicircular, balustrated porch. Although the east elevation has been altered by the addition of a large picture window, a piazza, and dormers, the house is noteworthy historically as part of the small colony here (see Dewey Lane). Mary Wotherspoon, the original owner, was the wife of General W.W. Wotherspoon and the mother of Alexander S., who became a U.S. Navy admiral. After serving in the Navy for two years, Wotherspoon, Senior, entered the army in 1873. He served in the Indian wars, the Philippines, and Cuba before becoming Army Chief of Staff and president of the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks.|
|DEWEY LANE COTTAGES (1897. 1928): Along Dewey Lane, a short, dead end street, and between it and the shore, are three shingled cottages, with fine views across the Bay. The cottages at 2 and 14 Dewey Lane were built in 1897 by Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright. Admiral Wainwright and General Wotherspoon (whose home was at 25 Decatur Avenue) designed their own houses, supervised their construction, and worked with the carpenters. Mrs. Wainwright was General Wotherspoon's sister. Number 8, with three gabled dormers, was built for F.H. Chamberlain in 1928; it was restored in 1988-89. Across the lane is a charming, small shingled guest cottage, and a large, barn-like structure, moved here from Fort Wetherill, where it served as the Administration Building. The short, L-shaped roads-- Decatur Avenue and Dewey Lane--which start off East Shore Road, are appropriately named for U.S. Navy admirals.|
|THE BARNACLE (1886): The Barnacle, as its name implies, perches atop a bay-side rock, the top of which was blasted off to make a level foundation for the structure. It commands a superb view of the bay below. Once an open site, it is now surrounded and largely hidden from view by a dense growth of trees and shrubs and is accessible only by stone-stepped natural paths. The shingled house, designed by C. L. Bevins, features a pyramidal roof of varied pitches, brick chimneys with chimney pots at the apex, twin gables at the water-facing side, and an arcaded porch at the north and east sides. Despite alterations, the cottage, one of two in Jamestown owned by Admiral Thomas O. Selfridge, retains its compact and rather eccentric massing. There is a cluster of wood-shingled auxiliary buildings at the base of the hill, near the road.|
|C.F. FISHER HOUSE (1964): This is a whimsical contemporary dwelling, a series of intersecting, glass-walled pavilions with tentlike roof.|
In the 1980's the yard underwent extensive renovations. The original building, a wood-shingled, gable-roofed structure set end to the road, was radically remodeled and is now the boatyard office. Two large storage buildings were added, one metal, one shingle-sided.
|**67 OW||MARY LOVERING COTTAGE (1890): A 1-1/2-story, shingled cottage sited on a rocky bluff above the water at the Dumplings. The structure has been reduced in size from its original two-and-a-half stories, and has been remodeled several times.|
The story of the genesis of this romantic summer house has two versions. According to one, the house was designed by and for marine artist William Trost Richards to replace the summer house and studio taken by the government for Fort Wetherill in the late 1890s. According to this version of the tale, Richards planned the house (one especially suited to a painter of seascapes) but gave up the project before work began, selling his interest in the site and turning over his plans to J.S. Levering Wharton, whose family summer place was also condemned for Fort Wetherill. Working with J.D. Johnston, Wharton modified Richards's plans. He made the house smaller, added a breakwater, boathouses and repair facilities on Conanicut for his fleet of vessels, and a cottage, also on Conanicut, to house the captain who looked after the Wharton boats and provided water taxi service to and from Clingstone. The other version of the house's origin is that Levering Wharton initiated the project, commissioning Johnston to design the building, and that Wharton got Richards to "front" for him, more or less as a lark, and that Richards agreed, much to the dismay of his family. Whichever is true, the house was built for Lovering Wharton with all the pertinent facilities he required, even to the darkroom in the house for his photography hobby. Clingstone was used into the 1930s. After the 1938 hurricane the house was much damaged, but still sound, and stood abandoned for decades until the present owner bought and renovated what is surely Jamestown's most unique and widely publicized abode.
|**||Dutch Island, a roughly, triangular-shaped, approximately 110-acre island, widest at the north end, lies west of Conanicut Island near the center of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Although there is no known material evidence of its early (seventeenth and eighteenth century) history, a lighthouse tower and the ruins and remains of nineteenth- and twentieth-century structures�buildings, fortifications, and a wharf�are visible throughout the island.
There are conflicting accounts of the first discovery of Dutch Island. Reportedly Captain Adrian Block, a Dutch merchant, explored the lower bay during an expedition in 1614. According to Sidney Rider, however, Block only saw Block Island on a voyage to and from Europe and New Amsterdam. A second voyage, by Captain Hendricksen, in 1616, found a "certain country, a Bay, and three rivers". The bay, named Sloups Bay, originally referred to all of Narragansett Bay; later Sloups Bay was limited to only the West Passage. In 1636-37, Abraham Pietersen, acting for the Dutch West India Company, purchased the island, then called Quentenis, from the Narragansetts. The Dutch used Quentenis, an outpost for their New Netherland colony, as a trading post between 1636 and 1656, during which time it was of material use to the first Rhode Island settlers by providing them with necessary supplies. The island reverted to Narragansett ownership when the Dutch left. Although it was reportedly fortified, to date there has been no evidence of any settlement or fortification by the Dutch.
The English settlers of Newport initially purchased only the rights to the grass on Dutch Island, and used it for pasturage for sheep. Benedict Arnold and William Coddington acquired the island as part of the purchase of Conanicut in a deed from Cashanaquont, a chief sachem of the Narragansetts. The 1658 purchase agreement from the Indians refers to the island as Acquednessuck and Aquidnesicke; Newport records of 1656 and Jamestown records of 1659 call it Dutch Island.
In 1825, the United States Lighthouse Service acquired a small tract at the southern tip of the island and built a lighthouse there two years later. The island continued in use as a pasturage until 1852, when it was purchased by Powell H. Carpenter, who attempted to establish a fish oil works here. The venture was unsuccessful and in 1863 Carpenter sold the island to the United States government. Major R.R. Hunt of the U.S. Engineers prepared a plan for fortifying the island. In September, 1863, the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, a Black regiment, was moved to Dutch Island from its camp on the Dexter Training Ground in Providence, and Camp Bailey was established. The regiment, comprised of African-American troops from all parts of the Union, went into active training for the front. Two earthworks were constructed, a temporary earthwork at the center of the southeastern part of the island, and the Lower Battery, near the island's southern tip. The temporary earthwork was equipped with seven eight-inch Columbiads (cannon-like guns which could fire either shot or shell), and one 32-pound gun. The southern fortification was a low, octagonal, open barbette battery, but because of its low siting and exposure to high seas that swept across this part of the island, no guns were ever mounted here at what came to be called the "Wash Tub Battery." It is still visible today. Brick-and-granite-lined magazines, including a network of tunnels, were also constructed in the area of the gun emplacements. Between December, 1863, and March, 1864, three batteries of the 14th Regiment went south to fight.
After the Civil War, several new batteries were constructed on Dutch Island. In 1866 a new "middle" barbette battery was proposed to replace a temporary Civil War-era battery; it was completed between 1867 and 1869. The middle battery was a large, high, open earthwork with inner chest-high walls lined with granite blocks. Five 15-inch Rodman guns were mounted. A new battery for the summit of Dutch Island was proposed in 1870, but a new carriage gun design rendered plans for the battery obsolete before it was completed. However, a barracks for government workers was erected in 1872-73. Plans for another new battery ended fruitlessly when all available appropriations were exhausted.
Between 1875 and 1885 the island was relatively uninhabited. The 1875 census listed 13 inhabitants�a civil engineer with his wife, son, and mother; two maids; two laborers; one overseer; one gardener; one boatman; one lightkeeper; and one soldier.
In 1889 the island was garrisoned only by Ordinance Sergeant Benjamin F. Morrell, who, with his family, occupied a cottage atop the island. Other structures-a barn, a mess house, an office and store room, an ice house, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, two barracks, and a former officers' quarters-were vacant.
Although the Endicott Board of Coastal Defense recommended a modernization of American coastal fortifications in 1886, it took the Spanish-American War to inspire the rebuilding of Dutch Island into a modern stronghold. Work began in 1898 with the construction of a mine casement, a deep underground cell of winding passages that led to submarine mine chambers far below the West Passage. Three 10-inch disappearing guns were also mounted on the island. During the war the fort was rebuilt into a "modern stronghold" and a battery of heavy mortars installed. In 1898 Dutch Island was named Fort Greble for John T. Greble, the first regular army officer to fall in the Civil War. The work of fortifying the island continued after the Spanish-American War. Four large batteries--Ogden, Hale, Mitchell, and Sedgwick--were completed. Three 10-inch rifles were mounted in Battery Hale, a concrete fortification. Battery Mitchell was equipped with three 6-inch rifles mounted on disappearing carriages. Eight 12-inch mortars were mounted in Battery Sedgwick, located at the northwestern side of the island. Battery Ogden, built over part of the earlier Middle Battery, mounted two three-inch, 15-pound rapid fire guns. In 1902 a 3-story, red brick and concrete fire control station (still standing today) was built north of Battery Mitchell. A mine commander's station was constructed, and searchlights capable of illuminating the bay and underwater minefield were installed between 1907 and 1909. Several other structures, including a tide station, a mine storehouse, a mine loading room, and several cable tanks were also built between 1901 and 1908.
During World War I Fort Greble housed fourteen companies of Rhode Island National Guardsmen who were transferred to the harbor defenses of Narragansett Bay. They were housed in a c. 1900 enlisted mens' barracks built on a hill near the northeastern end of the island. Although damaged by fire in the early 1970s, the surviving arcaded front porch is a picturesque ruin.
By 1916 guns mounted on battleships exceeded the range and accuracy of the shore guns mounted in stationary fortifications, rendering the existing gun emplacements obsolete. Fort Greble's batteries were disarmed between 1917 and 1943. Gradually, the island's fortifications deteriorated. In 1947 the fort was discontinued. In 1958 Dutch Island was declared surplus by the United States government and given to the State of Rhode Island for conservation purposes. When the State created the Bay Island Park system in 1974, Dutch Island was the first property chosen.
|DUTCH ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE (1857): Dutch Island Lighthouse, at the southern end of the island, is a solitary, white, 13-foot square tower, with 15-inch thick brick walls containing windows with masonry lintels and sills. At the top is a six-foot wide lantern, which is at a height of 56 feet above sea level.
The first lighthouse here was erected in 1827, along with a keeper's house. The slate and stone structure was replaced in 1857 by the present tower. In 1867 the tower was re-roofed with a cast iron deck plate with a wrought iron railing. A fog bell was installed in 1885. The light was made automatic in 1931. Following the transfer of the island from the U.S. government to the State of Rhode Island in the late 1950s, all buildings on the site (except for the light tower) were demolished. The light was superseded by a lighted gong buoy in 1979.
|EAST FERRY LANDING|
|STEAM FERRY WHARF: The steam ferry wharf, a paved thoroughfare and parking area with buildings on the south side, dates back to the arrival of the first steam ferry in 1873. The original buildings have been replaced. Presently there is a one-story commercial block, built in 1922, and the 1928 passenger waiting room, recently converted for use as a marina office and store. The former ferry docking area is used by a modern marina whose 600 feet of fixed pier and 40 floating slips incorporate a few of the pilings from the ferry slips. A six-foot high granite monument depicting Roger Williams and Conanicus in relief has stood in the area since 1942.
Several ferry landings existed along the east side of Conanicut, in the vicinity of Narragansett Avenue, from the earliest days of settlement until 1969, when the Newport Bridge was completed. The associated ferry boats, at first driven by wind, then powered by steam, carried passengers, goods, vehicles, animals, and a host of other things between Jamestown and Newport for about three centuries.
Reportedly a ferry service was here as early as 1665. A charter may have been granted as early as 1695 to colonial governor Caleb Carr. The first license on record was granted to Caleb's son John in 1700. The East Ferry linked Jamestown with Newport while the West Ferry plied between Conanicut and South Ferry, then part of South Kingstown. Narragansett Avenue connected the two landings. This route was the most direct line of travel to and from New York City and points west, and southeastern New England. Among others, George Washington used the Jamestown ferries in March, 1781, when he visited Newport to confer with Rochambeau about plans for the southern campaign. Several buildings were located near the eastern ferry landing. By the mid-nineteenth century this area had grown into a small village known as East Ferry. After a steam ferry started running in 1873 the village grew rapidly. The West Ferry was discontinued in 1940 after completion of the Jamestown Bridge. The ferry to Newport continued running until it was put out of service by the opening of the Newport Bridge in 1969.
|EAST SHORE ROAD|
|*63 WH||CARR-WANTON-DUTRA FARM (17th century, et seq.): This farm, along East Shore Road and Weeden Lane, is centered on a farm complex set back from the road. The major structures are a late nineteenth-century, 2-story, shingled farmhouse; a nineteenth-century, 2-story, shingled barn, a c. 1900 barn, another large 2-story outbuilding, a machine shed, and a twentieth-century garage. The farmland, originally 113 acres, rises gradually from its eastern boundary (which was once East Shore Road), the newly-constructed Route 138. The recent highway route took about 14 acres of land. Stone walls mark the Weeden Lane boundary and fields. A new entrance has been created on the north side of Weeden Lane.
This tract of land was part of Governor Caleb Carr's original purchase, part of his extensive Conanicut and Aquidneck Island landholdings. He reportedly built a house here before 1673. In 1693 the property went to his son, Nicholas, and later was purchased by Joseph Wanton, Jr., who was sympathetic to the British during the Revolution. Wanton's property was confiscated during the war and sold after the war. Part of the confiscated estate went to the town and became the site of the windmill. The property was known locally as the Wanton Farm as late as 1912.
Post-Revolutionary War owners included Job Watson, his son Daniel, George Washington Carr and John F. Carr. The last-named built the present farm house in 1888. In 1909 the older house was destroyed by fire. In 1934 the farm was purchased by the grandfather of the present owner, Joseph F. Dutra, Jr. The latter doubled the capacity of the cow barn in 1974 and in 1978 erected a new 40-by-80 machinery barn. Today the tract is one of only a few working farms on the island. It is important to the historical agricultural ambiance of the Windmill Hill Historic District and is an important link to the island's agricultural heritage.
|147||LEWIS HULL FARM (early 20th century): The Lewis Hull farm comprises a 1-1/2-story, shingled farmhouse, set gable end to the road, and a large, shingled barn. The house was designed and built by Lewis Hull about 1923. There are fields behind the buildings.|
|256||CARR-HOWLAND FARM (1923): A 2-1/2-story, shingled residence and several detached outbuildings comprise this former farm. It was originally the southern half of John Carr's eighteenth-century farm. John Carr's house is long gone. The present residence, built in 1875, was owned for 70 years by Isaac Howland and his descendants. George Howland, who lived here in 1895, raised poultry (Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and White Wyandottes) and thoroughbred Guernsey cattle. For most of the twentieth century the place has been known as the Howland Farm.|
|292||BROWN-PECKHAM-CARR FARM (c. 1861): This property is the northern half of the eighteenth-century John Carr Farm. The south-facing farmhouse, sited near the water at the end of a stone-wall-lined driveway, is a 2-1/2-story, shingled structure with a small, brick chimney toward the rear; a central weather entry, with Greek Revival detailing, in a five-bay facade; recessed corner posts: and an addition at the rear. There are two later shingled outbuildings on the property, which offers a commanding view of Gould Island and the East Passage.
Samuel Brown built this house about 1861, then sold it to Phillip Peckham in 1866. Peckham, in turn, sold it in 1882 to Thomas G. and Clarence C. B. Carr; it remained in the Carr family until the middle of the twentieth century. Thomas G. Carr (1843-1927), born at the Carr homestead, grew cotton in South Carolina in the 1870s; he returned to Jamestown with his brother Clarence and raised sheep.
|**340||FOWLERS ROCKS (1892): Built for Mr. & Mrs. Theophilus Stork, this isolated summer place gets its name from a clump of offshore rocks in the bay. The house is a 2-1/2-story, shingle-clad pile with gable roofs, two hip-roofed dormers, tall brick chimneys, and a pair of circular comer towers. Despite substantial alterations, the basic form of the dwelling is intact. Fowlers Rocks is set back from the road on a private drive. In 1988 a hip-roofed pavilion was added at the north end of the house; it replaced an earlier structure. There is a fine view of the bay to the east over a large expanse of lawn. A 1-1/2-story bungalow at 359 East Shore Road (see following entry) was used as the caretaker's cottage for Fowlers Rocks.|
|359||CARETAKER'S COTTAGE (c. 1920): This fine, shingled bungalow has a long shed-roof dormer across the front; a piazza across the front formed by the roof overhang; and a central entry with sidelights, in a five-bay facade. The cottage was built for the caretaker of Fowlers Rocks at 340 East Shore Road (see preceding entry).|
|409||ROBERT HENDERSON HOUSE (1930-31): A 1-1/2-story residence with a massive, dominating, central pedimented portico, with double columns, and a sidelighted entry in a 3-bay facade. This residence is the Crescent model of a house sold by the Sears, Roebuck Company through a catalog. Sears, Roebuck provided materials and detailed building instructions for their catalog houses, which were available for several decades in the early twentieth century.|
|**850 CP||CAJACET / CAPTAIN THOMAS PAINE HOUSE (1690s et seq.): A large, 2-1/2-story, shingled house with a second story overhang; a large, brick, center chimney; a central, simply-framed entry, in a five-bay facade; and several additions. The house, which occupies a 9.5-acre lot along the eastern shore of Conanicut, was built by Captain Thomas Paine, who played the dual role of privateer and pirate. Paine purchased 160 acres of land here in 1690 from Caleb and William Arnold, probably with money from the rich rewards of his sea exploits. In 1690 Paine briefly came out of retirement to defend Newport from marauding French pirates. Newport's fleet of two vessels, commanded by Paine, soundly defeated the five French vessels. The first of many changes to the house were made during the eighteenth century. A room was added at the north end, part of the south end was removed and replaced, and a lean-to addition was made along the west wall.
After the Paine family sold the farm in 1781 it had several different owners, including the Hopkins and Watsons. In 1882 Seth M. Vose, a Providence and Boston art dealer, acquired the estate for a summer house and named it Cajacet. Vose made major changes to the exterior, raising the height of the house, and adding dormers. In 1915 the roof of the wing was extended and a small ell constructed. The house was occupied by the Vose family as a summer residence for about 60 years. In 1949 Mr. & Mrs. Lucius Collins of Wilmington, Delaware, purchased the property. They engaged the services of architect John Hutchins Cady and restored the house to a semblance of its late eighteenth-century appearance. The property then included a superintendent's bungalow, two barns, and a garage.
Noted for its beautiful gardens when owned by John Jay Watson in the mid-nineteenth century, the place has been handsomely landscaped by subsequent owners. Copper beeches, fern-leafed beeches, and other ornamental trees adorn the grounds. In a small family burial plot northwest of the house are the eighteenth-century graves of Captain Paine and his nephew John.
|**833 CP||JOHN BRAZIER COTTAGE (1874): A 2-1/2-story, tall and narrow tri-gabled house with wide bracketed eaves or extended roof rafters, and tall narrow windows. The original wrap-around porch has been removed. John Brazier of Worth & Brazier, the original owner, was a contractor and real estate developer. With his partner he built several cottages in Conanicut Park. The residence, in the Cranston family from 1880 to 1926, has since had other owners.|
|**887 CP||CHAPEL HOUSE (1874): A 1-1/2-story, L-plan, modest Gothic Revival cottage featuring pointed arch (lancet windows), a central entry with drip molding, in a three-bay facade, and a flat roofed wrap-around piazza supported by plain, square posts. It is one of the original Conanicut Park cottages built by Charles Worth of Worth & Brazier. Its unique Gothic form reflects the fact that Charles Worth's base of operations was at Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard; this is very much like an Oak Bluffs cottage there.
This house was never used as a chapel. Its name was given by the Misses Mitchell, who rented it for several years around 1920, because of the long, narrow shape and the treatment of its windows.
|**900 CP||WORTH-BAKER-BLAKE-BEEDE COTTAGE (c. 1874): A 1-1/2- story, cross-gabled cottage with a piazza in the front and a smaller piazza at one corner, both flat roofed, and a 2-story bay window. The extended roof rafters are the only decorative detail. The residence is set back from the road on a private roadway, occupying a slight rise facing the Bay. It was built by Charles Worth between October 1873 and April 1874, then went to the Conanicut Land Company, to Baker and later to Blake. Sarah Blake used it as a summer home during the latter part of the nineteenth century. It was in the Hebert Beede family for about forty years after 1906.|
|**921 CP||GEORGE TABER COTTAGE (1874, 1982): A 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled, quasi-Gothic cottage with a flat-roofed wrap-around porch, a central entry in a three-bay facade, bargeboards at the steeply-pitched gables, and a small ell at the rear. A two-bay garage with barge boards, set gable end to the road, is connected to the house.
George Taber, who built the residence in 1874, sold it in 1882 to Ralph Hamilton. It remained in the Hamilton family until 1921. In 1982 the house was restored and an addition made. A balustrade was built at the second-story level around the front and sides of the house and the garage added.
|**937 CP||ELEANOR H. FARR COTTAGE (1905): An unusual and very plain 1-1/2-story, gabled cottage with a wrap-around, hip-roofed piazza and a large, square, hip-roofed corner tower that butts into a gable roof. The property was owned by the Farr family until 1948.|
|**947 CP||JOHN B. KILTON COTTAGE (1873): A 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled cottage with carpenterwork details at the gables and several small carpenterwork dormers that break the cornice line. The structure has lost some of its original architectural integrity by replacement of the original porch, destroyed by fire in 1904, by re-siding with aluminum, and by replacement of the front doorway with a window. John Kilton was a Providence merchant and an investor in the Conanicut Park project. Although somewhat altered from its original appearance, the residence is noteworthy as the oldest extant cottage, and one of the most elaborately finished, at Conanicut Park. It was also used as a developer's model cottage designed not only to sell, but also to interest others in buying and building.|
|**1026 CP||JENNIE LIPPITT HOUSE / STONEWALL COTTAGE (1873): An L-plan, 1-1/2-story cottage, with a 2-1/2-story square tower with mansard roof; small, gabled, bracketed dormers that break the cornice line; and a 1-story, flat-roofed, wrap-around piazza. The four gabled dormers on the tower match the house dormers. The cottage, sited below the road on a nicely landscaped lot, was built by Jennie Lippitt of the textile manufacturing family from Providence that helped provide the financial backing that made Conanicut Park possible.|
|**1031 CP||DAVID M. HOYT COTTAGE (1873): A small, 1-1/2-story cottage, set gable end to the road, with narrow window openings, decorative bargeboards and a wrap-around bracketed piazza. The major second floor room opens out onto a balcony at the porch level. David Hoyt was principal of Classical High School in Providence.|
|**1035 CP||SUSAN GRAVES COTTAGE (1875): A 1-1/2-story residence with a vergeboard in the road-facing gable end; a shed-roofed wrap-around porch, with carpenterwork brackets; a central entry in a three-bay facade; and an addition at the rear. Despite some alterations from its original appearance, this cottage, built by the Reverend and Mrs. H. C. Graves, is nearly identical to the slightly earlier adjacent Hoyt Cottage (1031 East Shore Road).|
|**1053 CP||DEXTER-ARNOLD COTTAGE (1876): This 2-story, cross-gabled residence with wrap-around porch, still has some of its original Victorian detail preserved, particularly on the gables. It was built by Samuel Dexter on Prospect Avenue, on the Heights, and was one of two cottages moved to sites nearer the steamboat landing in 1882. Dexter sold to the Conanicut Land Company, who sold it to Minnie S. Arnold. In 1915, when the Whittlesey Family owned the cottage, it was called The Shanty.|
|**1076 CP||CHARLES FLETCHER COTTAGE / POINT VIEW HOTEL / JAMESTOWN INN (1885): A large 2-1/2 story, clapboard-and shingle-sided-structure with a variety of roof lines and shapes; multiple tall brick chimney stacks; a wrap-around piazza; and bulging, semi-octagonal bays, one carried up in a tower. Built by Charles Fletcher, a prominent Providence textile manufacturer, it was far and away the most elaborate residence in the Park. According to the Providence Journal of August 7, 1887, "The very handsome cottage...attracts attention from the steamboats that ply up and down the blue Narragansett, and with its stable, pavilion, perfect lawn, shore frontage, bathing house and pier is one of the most complete summer residences on the island." Mariana Tallman's book described "Charles Fletcher's spacious cottage" as the "most imposing of all, with its round tower, clustering verandas and handsome lawns, closed in by a dense hedge of evergreens." In 1915 the place was sold to Andrew and Nellie Erickson, who ran it as the Point View Hotel and restaurant. Nellie ran it until her death at age 93, then it was operated until 1968 by her son Theodore. After it was sold, it continued in use as a summer hotel until 1972. About 1990 it was enlarged and converted into condominiums.
The adjacent 1-1/2-story, clapboard-sided residence (at 1070 East Shore Road) was originally the carriage house for Charles Fletcher's summer house. In 1915 it was converted into a cottage for year-round use by the Ericksons, and in 1970 was sold separately from the hotel property. In the late 1980s it underwent extensive renovations.
|**1093 CP||LILLA STEVENS COTTAGE / ROSSMERE (1891): A late addition to Conanicut Park, this cottage is a large, 2-1/2-story, cross-gabled, clapboard and shingle-clad residence with a 1-story, hip-roofed, wrap-around porch with spindlework, a gable overhang, and a small alcove above the first floor at the left rear. The ample and neat grounds include a small, 1-story, hip-roofed outbuilding with an exterior brick chimney and a fine garage-shed. In 1899 the property was sold to Lottie A. Ross.|
|**1095 CP||MARY JERNEGAN COTTAGE (1887): A typical Conanicut Park cottage, this 1-1/2-story residence has a large gabled dormer at each side, a hip-roofed wrap-around piazza (which was recently altered), and a large, rectangular brick chimney. The house is set back from the road on a large, grassy lot. It was owned by Dr. Holmes and Mary E. Jernegan, who built it, until 1892.|
|ELDRED AVENUE / ROUTE 138 WEST|
|CEDAR CEMETERY / HISTORICAL CEMETERY NO. 5: The relatively large Cedar Cemetery, set behind stone walls along Eldred Avenue, and adjacent to the Old Friends Burial Ground, was established in 1861. It contains numerous gravestones of island residents, including early grave markers of the Arnold family (dated 1697, 1716, and 1732) moved here from Taylor Point in the late nineteenth century.|
|WH||OLD FRIENDS BURIAL GROUND, HISTORICAL CEMETERY NO. 6: This burying ground, slightly less than an acre in size, bounded by dry-laid stone walls and screened by cedar trees, contains some of the oldest of Jamestown's graves. Gravestones here date from the early eighteenth century through the nineteenth century. The earliest stones are uninscribed and probably date before 1710. The rest are simple, neatly-carved, and well-preserved examples of funerary art. Along Eldred Avenue is a wrought iron entry gate erected at the end of the nineteenth century by Mrs. Isaac Howland who raised the money to repair the walls, build steps to approach it, and erect the iron gates with the marker "Friends Cemetery."
The first Friends Meeting House was erected about 1710 on the grounds of the Friends Cemetery. Ferrys at each end of Eldred Avenue connected the Windmill Hill area farms with Newport to the east and the mainland towns to the west. The meeting house was moved to the new location on North Main Road in 1734. The Friends Cemetery is now under the care of Cedar Cemetery Corporation.
|**16 SH||JEREMIAH H. TEFFT COTTAGE (1911-12): A 2-1/2-story, shingled, cross-gabled cottage, with a hip-roof, a roof overhang and a porch across the front and part of the right side. It is the most recent of the cottages along the common.|
|**24 SH||EPHRON CATLIN COTTAGE (1898-99): This is an ample, shingle-clad, 2-1/2-story, cross gabled, slightly asymmetrical Colonial Revival dwelling with Palladian windows at the front and right side, and a cross-octagonal gable. It may be the work of Creighton Withers, who designed several early Shoreby Hill summer houses. A recent renovation replaced the original porch with a lower-pitched, shed-roofed porch with a broad second-story platform. The original owner was one of the group of St. Louis men who pioneered this shorefront summer colony. This house remained in the Catlin Family until 1953.|
|**34 SH||EMILY C. W1CKHAM HOUSE (1898-99): A big, handsome, early Shoreby Hill summer place, the shingle-clad, 2-1/2-story Wickham House has a gambrel roof which cascades down and out over the front porch, supported by single and double classical columns. On the east side the porch is formed by the gambrel roof side, but on the west side it projects from the body of the house.|
|**40 SH||MARION L. DAVIS HOUSE (1898-99): The Davis House is another of Shoreby Hill's distinctive big summer houses, girdled by a deep porch. This design has a flank gable with a central cross gable. The eaves, accented by jack rafters, are carried across the gables as pents. Like the, House (5 Alden Road), here the porch is a series of broad, arched openings. A second story sleeping porch on the east side follows the same motif. Attributed to Creighton Withers, this residence is akin to his contemporaneous Red House.|
|**41 SH||EDWARD MALLINCKRODT HOUSE (1898-99): This fieldstone and shingle, gambrel-roofed. Colonial Revival cottage is one of the most ambitious and attractive of the Shoreby Hill summer houses erected by the initial St. Louis cottagers. The gambrel is carried down and extends out over the porch, which nearly encircles the building. On both front and rear elevations several of the dormers are linked by shed-roofed hyphens sporting big, showy, oval windows with patterned glazing. Other windows have round or segmental heads and also boast elaborate glazing patterns.|
|**46 SH||CAROLINE BRYANT HOUSE (1912-13): The design of this gambrel-roofed, shingle-clad. Colonial Revival summer house is attributed to its first owner. Despite its date the house is very like a number of Shoreby Hill's earliest cottages, with fancy dormers and the roof kicked out over a broad, enveloping porch. There is a wing at the rear.|
|**10 CP||JAMES A. YOUNG CARRIAGE HOUSE (1885): A 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled residence with shingle and clapboard sides and a 1-story, flat-roofed, wraparound piazza. This structure was built as a barn for a nearby house which was probably erected in 1881, and which may have gone out of existence by 1900. Another house stood on the property in the 1920s and 1930s. It was badly damaged in the 1938 hurricane and subsequently torn down.|
|**14 CP||SAMUEL IRONS HOUSE / HENDRY'S RETREAT (c. 1876): A typical 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled Conanicut Park residence distinguished by fine carpenterwork detailing in the cornice-piercing dormers and in the gable ends. Other features include bay windows, finials, and a central, double-door entry in a 1-story, flat roofed, wraparound porch. At the rear of the small, privet-bordered lot, is a small garage.
The house was built in 1875-76 by Samuel Irons on the heights, and moved to its site here nearer the steamboat landing in 1881. It remained in the Irons family until 1922; since then it has been owned by Irene Husted and her daughter, Eleanor, who married James Hendry. Eleanor and James called it Hendry's Retreat in the mid-twentieth century. In 1969 the interior was renovated for year-round use.
|**20 CP||DAVIS COTTAGE (c. 1881): This 1-1/2-story summer cottage, located at the corner of East Shore Road, has a 1-story, hip-roofed piazza across the front. It has been somewhat altered from its original appearance through window changes, expansion of the kitchen area in the rear, and by residing with aluminum. The original owner was Lucius D. Davis, who conceived the idea of Conanicut Park.|
|FORT GETTY ROAD|
|SITE OF FORT GETTY: Today very little remains of Fort Getty, a concrete fortification constructed in 1901 on the peninsula known as Fox Hill, along the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Throughout most of its history the peninsula was used only for farming. In 1900 the War Department purchased a 31-acre tract here and in the following year erected fortifications. The place was named Fort Getty in honor of Brevet Major General George W. Getty who had a long army career. The first garrison was established in 1909. During World War I, Fort Getty was temporarily occupied as an outpost of nearby Fort Greble, then reverted to caretaker status. During World War II, Fort Getty was again used for military purposes. In 1940, a coast artillery unit was quartered in newly-constructed barracks; a searchlight unit was also based on the peninsula. A number of guns were installed during the course of the war, including three-inch, six-inch, and twelve-inch disappearing rifles. During the last years of the war, an Army School Center was established at Fort Getty for the indoctrination of German prisoners-of-war in the principles of democratic government. Groups of German POWs passed through the school every 60 days. The last class was graduated in December, 1945. In all, 1,166 German prisoners completed the schools at Fort Getty and Fort Wetherill. Fort Getty was declared excess property by the United States Government in the 1970s and turned over to the State of Rhode Island. The concrete fortifications were largely demolished at that time. Most of the peninsula is now a campground used by recreational vehicles.|
|**881 FH||JONATHAN LAW FARMHOUSE (mid-18th century): Along the south side of Fort Getty Road is a shingled residence with a large, off-center brick chimney and a 1-story ell on the east side. Nearby is a large, wood-shingled barn; another shingled outbuilding is located near the road. Governor Arnold's grandson Benedict left the farm to his nephew Jonathan Law in 1733. It was later the property and residence of Hazard Knowles, then was owned by several other families. Benedict Arnold is buried on a small plot on the farm, as are a number of his siblings, his father, Josiah Arnold, and Josiah's two wives.|
|**994 FH||FOX HILL FARM (mid-18th century): Located north of the road, this farm is centered on a gambrel-roofed farmhouse. A wing was added at the west (left) end in the mid-twentieth century. Northwest of the house is a large, old, wood-shingled barn with an attached open shed. This farmland, bounded and divided by stone walls, slopes down to the waters of the bay. Along with Windmill Hill, this rural landscape is the finest on the island.
Benedict Arnold, grandson of Governor Arnold, left this property with a house to his nephew, Benedict Robinson, in 1733. The present house may incorporate part of the building mentioned in Arnold's will.
Fox Hill Farm was the residence of Sydney and Catharine Morris (Kit) Wright (1889-1988). Mrs. Wright was a philanthropist, author (in prose and verse), and artist, and the granddaughter of Joseph Wharton of Philadelphia (who built Horsehead).
|FORT WETHERILL ROAD|
|**||FORT WETHERILL: The southern part of the main section of Conanicut Island is a hilly, upland area, its ocean-facing coast an irregular and spectacularly rugged, and rocky shoreline with 80-to-100-foot high cliffs. This coastal area, between Mackerel Cove and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, remained farmland for centuries until large and elegant summer homes were erected here during the late nineteenth century. Several of those that were sited directly along the ocean were destroyed to make room for a fortification, Fort Wetherill, in the early twentieth century. After World War II, the military post was vacated and subsequently became a state park. Concrete fortifications remain in place to provide visitors with a fine view of southern Rhode Island's rugged coastal scenery, and the ocean to the south. In addition to the massive concrete structures used as gun emplacements, several other military buildings, used in connection with a submarine cable, still stand at Fort Cove, and nearby, on a peninsula, and now buried under the concrete work of a Fort Wetherill fortification, is the site of Fort Dumpling.
The area today is comprised of three interrelated but separate and distinct features: 1) the old Fort Dumpling site, 2) Fort Wetherill, mostly concrete gun emplacements, and 3) the submarine mine and cable storage and placement facility, comprised of four stuccoed buildings and a quay at Fort Cove. See entries directly below.
|*||Site of Fort Dumpling: This part of Conanicut, commanding the narrowest part of the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, had been recognized as a strategic defense position as early as 1524 by Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano, but it was not until two and a half centuries later, on the eve of the Revolutionary War, that the site was fortified. Both British military officers and Colonial official Robert Melville saw its potential geographic advantage. Apparently the colonists were the first to construct fortifications on the promontory, one of seven or eight sites along Narragansett Bay chosen as defense positions during the war. During 1775-76 the Dumpling battery was a small post with heavy armament of eight 18- pound guns. Upon the British occupation of Newport, British forces overran and controlled Conanicut; a detachment was posted at Fort Dumpling. In 1779, when the British left Rhode Island, they destroyed the battery.
In 1798-1800, during a period of strained maritime relations with France, a fort was constructed here by Major Louis Toussard. Known for a time as Fort Louis, it was constructed as a massive elliptical stonework tower, its dimensions measuring 180-by-81 feet on the ground. It was to mount eight heavy guns on the seaward side, half in casements and half in barbettes. According to some historians, the fort was actually armed with the gun battery and manned for harbor defense during the War of 1812 and the Civil War, but the Newport Journal of December 3, 1898, quotes G.W. Cullen, who said that the fort was never fortified, armed, or garrisoned. As early as 1802, the effect of the tower was considered insufficient to accomplish the purpose of defending the mile-wide channel here. An 1820 report by the Board of Engineers considered the Dumpling work worthless. A large and costly fort was proposed but never realized. Fort Dumpling was still standing in 1870 when the U.S. Corps of Engineers sought an appropriation for its renovation, either by encasing it in an iron plate or by surrounding it with an earth face. The plan never materialized. Throughout the nineteenth century the tower stood as a spectacular and romantic landmark, depicted graphically in almost every published account of this part of the Bay.
The fort was badly deteriorated, but still standing near the end of the century. It was identified on an 1895 map as "Fort Brown or Fort Dumpling," but soon after its end came following yet another war and national crisis, this one the result of the destruction of the United States battleship Maine in February, 1898. By then the old, crumbling fort was considered a nuisance. It was destroyed on November 26, 1898, and on or near its immediate site a new fortification was erected.
|**||Fort Wetherill: In addition to the Fort Dumpling site, the United States Government condemned more than 61 acres of land between 1898 and 1902, including part of the Ocean Highlands tract and the summer home of William Trost Richards, and other fine, large, summer homes along the coast. The new fort, named for Captain Alexander M. Wetherill who was killed at San Juan Hill, Cuba, in 1898, was started by 1902; it was enlarged between 1904 and 1907. Major George W. Goethals, builder of the Panama Canal, oversaw the construction. The ample quay and sheltered harbor of Fort Cove were used to unload supplies for the construction of the fort.|
|**||Submarine Mine & Cable Facility: Three buildings, used to store and soak submarine cables, submarine mines, and other military equipment, were constructed at the cove, a 1-story and a 2-story building in 1908 and a 1-story structure in 1911. The 1908 buildings have concrete foundations, composite columns, and beams of concrete-encased, helical reinforcing rods. They both have interior trolley cranes supported by steel beams which span concrete columns. The central building contains concrete bins, about six feet deep, which were used for immersion of submarine cables. The building at the west end of this group, erected in 1911, has walls that were constructed by erecting wooden columns and ties for a framework, over which were placed metal mesh and a concrete veneer. This structure also has a concrete foundation and a trolley crane.
In 1916 several 12-inch disappearing guns were installed. After World War, I Fort Wetherill was placed in a caretaker status. World War II re-started military activity here. In 1940 a submarine mine storehouse, a long, 1-story structure, was added to the facility at Fort Cove, which was the base for the army's mine-planting ship, the General Absalom Baird, and new barracks and troop facilities were constructed for part of a coast artillery unit from Fort Adams that came here to activate and begin training on the batteries. Guns installed during the war included two 3-inch barbettes, 12-inch disappearing rifles, 12-inch barbettes, two 6-inch shielded rapid-fire rifles, and 3-inch fixed anti-aircraft guns above Sand Beach and West Coves.
After World War II, Fort Wetherill was again deactivated. In the 1970s it was declared excess property by the government. Most of the land, including concrete fortifications, became a state park. The easternmost part of the former fort, the submarine storage facilities at Fort Cove, including four stuccoed buildings dating from both world wars, is now used by the Jamestown Highway Department.
|**133 OW||HARRY POTTER HOUSE (1890): This interesting Colonial Revival residence features a towering gambrel-roofed block with hooded dormers, a sweeping porch on the water side, and a square, hip-roofed tower over the porch. Built as a summer residence, the Harry Potter House overlooks Fort Wetherill and the approaches to the Bay.|
|FOX HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT|
|**||This area, at the northwestern part of Beaver Head, is comprised of two large, 2-1/2-story, eighteenth-century farmhouses, outbuildings, and open farmland. The properties, separated from each other by Fort Getty Road (nos. 881 and 994), are the last surviving farms on what was originally Governor Benedict Arnold's 1,000 acre farm.|
|11||MEADOWSIDE (1887-88): Meadowside, a 1-1/2-story structure represents Jamestown's Shingle Style to perfection, a compact mass bulging with thrust-out porches and bays. The idiom is most closely associated with C. L. Bevins, to whom this fine house has been attributed. Built on a relatively steep hill above Conanicus Avenue and the bay, its east-facing facade takes advantage of the elevation with open and closed porches and a deck above one of the porches. The east side also contains gable and hip-roofed dormers. The house was built for Elizabeth Logan, daughter of Admiral David Porter and wife of Lieutenant L. C. Logan. In 1917 Logan was a rear admiral with a winter residence in Washington, D.C.|
|One of Narragansett Bay's smaller islands, Gould Island lies off Conanicut's eastern shore in the East Passage. The approximately 52-acre tract, which attains an elevation of 60 feet, contains several buildings erected in connection with a U.S. Navy torpedo testing facility that first came to the island about 1918. The island was known variously as Aguspemokick, or Aguepinoquk, by its original Indian owners, when purchased from the Narragansett sachem Koshtotop by Thomas Gould in 1657. In 1660 Aquinaumpau, who had been a planter on the island for three or four years, gave up his rights to the land. The island was sold to Dr. John Cranston in 1673, then to Caleb and Nicholas Carr. Both left shares to their sons; thereafter, the island was owned by a number of people. A dwelling house is mentioned in deeds as early as 1858. A later Victorian house may have been built by F.E. Homans in 1880. In 1889 the lighthouse, a white tower with a light 47 feet above the water and a visibility of 12 miles, was built at the eastern side of the island. The lighthouse operated until 1847; it was razed in 1960.
Before World War I, a summer house was built on the island. During the war, torpedoes were fired from a barge anchored off the northern end of the island. The United States government took the island over by proclamation in 1918 for testing and repairing torpedoes, as a storage facility for high explosives, as part of the Newport torpedo station, and as a test facility for Navy aircraft. In 1920 the government acquired control of the rest of Gould Island. Subsequently, several buildings were erected for torpedo and warhead storage and to house a detachment of marines. In 1921 two seaplanes were assigned to Gould Island to experiment with air-dropped torpedoes, and two hangers and a concrete ramp were constructed at the southern end of the island. The seaplane facility was later used as a base for anti-submarine warfare.
During World War II, more buildings were erected on Gould Island. In 1941 a degaussing station was established for demagnetizing and thus neutralizing ships to prevent their attracting or detonating magnetic mines or torpedoes. In 1942 a torpedo facility was built, including a torpedo shop, a power plant, and a range operations center, to direct the proof-firing of torpedoes manufactured at the Goat Island Naval Torpedo Station. The Gould Island facility was capable of proof-firing 100 torpedoes a day.
Seventeen acres on Gould Island were acquired by the State of Rhode Island in 1975; in 1983 20 more acres were declared surplus by the Navy. Today, a large brick building still stands at the northern end of the island and is mostly unused, except for occasional torpedo testing. All other buildings are vacant. The island is now more important as a rookery. It supports unusual colonies of glossy ibis, great egrets, common terns, black-crowned night herons, herring gulls, and black-backed gulls.
|5||TAYLOR REAL ESTATE OFFICE (1897): This dwelling, with a high hip roof accented by big, showy, gabled dormers with extended eaves, designed by Creighton Withers, was originally located on Narragansett Avenue. Once the Jamestown office of A. O'D. Taylor, a major Newport realtor, it was used as a tea room in 1914 and later housed a beauty parlor. By 1921 it had been moved to its present site. The house occupies a small lot in the village commercial district.|
|16||HEDGEROW (1888): An interesting and unusual, attenuated, 3-story, shingled house with white trim. It features tall, narrow, 6-paned windows, a central double door entry, a gabled peak in the front, a front porch, and patterned shingles at the sides. A low hedge across the short lot probably accounts for the structure's name. The town clerk's office was housed here in 1889.|
|56||WILLIAM S. ALLISON COTTAGE (1895): A good, characteristic Jamestown example of the shingled, late nineteenth-century summer cottage. This 1-1/2-story, gable- and gambrel-roofed house has a piazza along the right side formed by the second-story overhang, and a lantern-like circular tower. It is set back from the road on a large lot, screened from view by a tall privet hedge. Like so many other Jamestown summer residents, the Allisons, its original owners, were from Philadelphia.|
|39-60||BUNGALOWS (c. 1910-1920): Grinnell Street, immediately west of the Shoreby Hill development, has one of the best collections of bungalows in Jamestown. Here are fine examples of Jamestown's typical modest, shingled, early twentieth-century bungalows. Numbers 39, 43, 52, 55, and 60 have particular architectural appeal.|
|**83||LYMAN-COTTRELL FARMHOUSE / ROCK HILL FARM (late 18th century): A typical early Rhode Island farmhouse, this 2-1/2-story structure has a large, stuccoed, brick chimney; a central, enclosed weather entry in a 5-bay, south-facing facade; and a small ell at the north side. The house is at the end of the private drive, one-quarter mile from the road. Fields are close to the house. In front is a dry-laid stone wall right-of-way, part of "Stanton Road" (a paper street).
The house, originally the focus of a large farm, was built anew or enlarged from an existing house by Major Daniel Lyman of Newport. Although the Lymans only lived here for about a year, the farm, operated by tenant farmers, continued under Lyman ownership until 1844, when the house and a 200-acre tract were purchased by John Stanton Cottrell, whose family came here from South Kingstown and acquired extensive landholdings in the southern part of Conanicut, including land on Beaver Neck. John's father also owned and operated West Ferry. John was an active farmer, but his son Frederick took little interest in farming. Instead, he became one of the initial land developers on the island following the inauguration of steam ferry service between East Ferry and Newport. Frederick was instrumental in organizing the Jamestown and Newport Ferry Company, was part owner of the Ferry Meadow Company, and was president of the Ocean Highlands Company. He lived on the farm until his death in 1884. In that year, Walcott Avenue was laid out across the farm. Admiral Thomas O. Selfridge purchased the southeast corner of the farm and built his shore cottage there in 1886. In 1887 the farm was platted for development, and other fine large houses were subsequently erected. Today, the old farmhouse is surrounded by 32 acres of open land.
|11||THE MOVABLE CHAPEL (1898-99, 1933): A 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled residence, with several triangular stained glass windows; a small brick exterior chimney; a 1-story bay window in front; and several additions at the rear. Today a residence on a small landscaped lot, the structure was built as a movable church on wheels. The idea for a movable chapel was conceived by the Reverend Charles E. Preston of Jamestown's St. Matthew's Episcopal Church as a means of providing religious services for summer residents at the northern end of the island; then the chapel could migrate south, to be near the year-round population in winter. Newport architect Charles Bevins drew up the plans and the Archibald Wheel Works of Lawrence, Massachusetts, made the wheels. The 27-by-18-foot chapel, which could accommodate 100 people, was launched April 17, 1899. It was pulled northward by ten pair of oxen, but traveled only three miles north of the village, to Stork's Hill, where the chapel came to rest on land donated by Thomas G. Carr. After the Reverend Preston left the island, the new rector refused to take over the chapel. Before 1915 it was moved to North Road, still in service as a chapel. In 1933 it was moved to its present site, enlarged, and converted to residential use.|
|**4 SH||CHARLES H. BAILEY HOUSE (1898-99): The big, imposing, white-painted Bailey House, distinguished by a colossal, tetrastyle, temple-form portico, provides a remarkable design contrast in the midst of Shoreby Hill's shingled informality. Nonetheless, it was built at the same time the other major houses went up. It is really more "Greek Revival" than Colonial Revival�a flank-gable, 5-bay, 2-story block fronted by a portico. Its twin, single-story, glassed-in porches beside the great portico are delightful late Victorian elaborations on the early Victorian theme. The Baileys were, like most first generation Shoreby cottagers, from St. Louis. In keeping with the architectural panache of their house, the hedge was trimmed ornamentally in a scalloped fashion, and beds of canna were planted in front of the house. According to local lore, this is a smaller version of Bailey's St. Louis house.|
|**10 SH||T. REMINGTON WRIGHT HOUSE (1916): A 1-1/2-story, shingled residence with a flank-gable roof that accommodates a big, cross-gabled dormer and a roofline that extends over the front porch. Wright was a builder and occasionally designed houses. This very simple bungalow is a product of the former, and probably the latter, vocation as well.|
|**18 SH||HAWTHORNE COTTAGE (1895-96): This 2-1/2-story, shingled residence, its gambrel roof set end to the road, has a front porch formed by the second story overhang; a pediment at the side; a bay window; and an ell at the rear. A tall privet hedge screens the house from the street. This place was built on Conanicus Avenue in 1895-96 and moved to the present site about 1899. Its original owner, Louis W. Anthony, a local builder, rented it as a summer cottage for many years before it was sold and converted to a year-round residence.|
|**7 OW||LYDIA E. SEARS COTTAGE (1890); This rambling, ample, shingled summer house has a hip-roofed main block, a central chimney, and a hip-roofed ell. It was built for Lydia Sears, wife of Major Clinton B. Sears of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.|
|**10 OW||LT. RICHARD C. DERBY HOUSE / EDGEWATER (1883; c. 1910): A tall, shingled, 2-1/2-story, shingle-clad, gabled dwelling, with a 2-story entrance pavillion. Designed and built by J.D. Johnston, the house appears to have been altered in the early twentieth century.|
|30||MCINTYRE HOUSE (1970); This modern house, designed by Sam Cate, is one of several "shed"-style residences on Jamestown (see also 920 North Main Road). A multi-shed-roofed structure, it has vertical board walls, a wood-shingled roof, variously sized and shaped windows, and a recessed entry. Nearby is a matching garage and studio.
The modern shed style originated in the 1960s largely through the ideas of several architects, most notably Charles Moore and Robert Venturi. The most distinctive feature is the multi-directional roof which, as exemplified in the Mclntyre House, gives the appearance that the house was made up of two distinctive forms joined together. One of the more interesting recent houses in Jamestown, it enjoys a fine site near the north end of Mackerel Cove.
|65||HEFLIN HOUSE (c. 1980): This 2-1/2-story, shingled, transitional Modern/Postmodern house has a gabled roof pierced by an oval-fronted stair tower and an observation deck, and an elevated entrance that is accessible via a monumental flight of steps. The house is set back from the road on landscaped grounds. It was designed by Estes/Burgin Partnership.|
|**179 OW||FORMER WISTAR MORRIS CARRIAGE HOUSE (1884, c. 1984?): A 1-1/2-story, gambrel-roofed carriage house with end overhang may possibly have been designed by Stanford White. Divided from the main estate in 1953, and used since then as a summer residence, it has more recently been redesigned for year-round use by the owner's son, Bernard Wharton, of the architectural firm Shope, Reno Wharton.|
|**195 OW||WISTAR MORRIS HOUSE/HIGHLAND (1884-86): This big, 2-1/2-story (and rear 3-1/2-story), shingle-clad, Queen Anne house has four massive chimneys, an almost mansard roof (disguised by a profusion of cross gables), and a porch wrapping around three sides of the building. Local tradition attributes Highland to Stanford White, but it is unlike any of his documented buildings in plan, form or detail. Highland was built for Philadelphian Wistar Morris. It commands an elevated site in the Ocean Highlands plat. The former carriage house on this property is now a residence on another lot (see preceding entry).|
|**196 OW||DR. JOHN MARSHALL HOUSE / CEDAR POINT (1916): This 2-story, hip-roofed, stuccoed summer house, is essentially rectangular in form. A projecting bay and chimney stack complicate the entrance elevation. The second-story windows are connected visually to the roofline and the first-floor windows are likewise connected to a continuous beltcourse. Perched on a rocky outcrop above Mackerel Cove, it enjoys a superb setting. The house was designed by Bickley of the architectural firm of DeArmond, Ashmeade, & Bickley.|
|**216 OW||J. BERTRAM LIPPINCOTT COTTAGE / STONE HOUSE AND FLAGSTONES (1926, 1960s): Determinedly "French Provincial", this stone rubble cottage is a series of 1-1/2-story pavilions with high slate-clad roofs and tall brick chimneys. The dominant central pavillion contains a high-ceiling living hall opening out through French doors onto a terrace overlooking Mackerel Cove. Flagstones, the garage converted into a residence in the 1960s, was originally to have been a drive-through gatehouse.
Designed by Albert Harkness, this was the third Jamestown summer house built by the Lippincotts. Mr. & Mrs. Lippincott turned over their original house (built in the early 1890s) and an adjacent bungalow to their children and built this house for themselves. Stone House is tucked into a comer near the Horsehead property, Mrs. Lippincott's parents' summer home. As it stands, Stone House and Flagstones are fine examples of the creatively eclectic houses of the 1920s.
|**227 OW||MYROCK (1930): The 2-1/2-story Myrock, designed by LeRoy Ward, Inc., a New York-based architectural firm, exemplifies the taste for casual, picturesque, Cape Cod-inspired, shingle-and-white trim houses of the early twentieth century.|
|**240 OW||JOSEPH WHARTON HOUSE/MARBELLA/HORSEHEAD (1882-84): Horsehead is a massive, turreted landmark, sited on a bold promontory overseeing the approaches to Narragansett Bay where it joins the ocean. Legend has it that the place was named for a large offshore rock, now vanished, which resembled a horse's head, but on a mid-nineteenth-century map "Horse Head" is shown on land, east of Mackerel Cove. Marbella, the original name, refers to a promontory facing the Mediterranean at Marbella, Spain.
The stone and shingle house has a gable roof brought down to the first story on the entrance front and overscale double dormers. The major feature of the exterior is a circular corner tower terminating in a belvedere below a bonnet roof. The seafront and gable is accented by a recessed porch with squat stone columns. On the rear elevation the house is a full story taller due to the slope of the land, and there is a big, west-facing porch which once overlooked a grass tennis court. Just north of the cottage is a matching carriage house-barn accented by an octagonal turret echoing that of the main house. On the barn turret's peak is a horsehead weathervane.
Joseph Wharton, a wealthy Philadelphia-based industrialist with Newport connections, was a Quaker. He began summering at the Robinson House on Washington Street in Newport in the 1860s, occasionally sailing over to Conanicut to picnic, explore, and collect marine specimens. In 1882 he acquired more than 30 acres in the Ocean Highlands tract and set about building his summer house. Wharton participated in the design process, insisting initially that the house be closer to the cliffs. It is likely that C.L. Bevins was the architect. Horsehead recalls Bevins's design vocabulary and it is known that Bevins designed very early additions to the house. J.D. Johnston was the builder and may also have had a hand in designing the barn-carriage house. Beautifully maintained, Horsehead is one of the outstanding summer houses of the New England coast.
|**314 OW||NEVILLE LEARY COTTAGE (1928-29): The 1-1/2-story, split-log cottage, designed by Harkness & Geddes, is a courtyard house with gabled pavilions defining three sides of the entrance court.|
|61||BUNGALOW (c. 1920): This diminutive, clapboard cottage has hip and shed roofs and a series of very small windows contrasting with one big, multi-paned picture window. The west wing was added about 1945. This residence was built by William H. Brooks, chief engineer for several Jamestown steamboats.|
|82||GEORGE C. MASON HOUSE(1874-75): This 2-story, clapboard dwelling, at the comer of High Street, has a low, flank-gable roof with a central cross-gable displaying remnants of original stickwork bracing; small bay windows at the sides; a full-width front porch; and board-and-batten vertical boarding in the gables after the Swiss fashion.
George Champlin Mason, designer of the cottage, was a prominent Newporter who combined careers as an architect, author, historian, and leader in many good causes, from the Newport Historical Society to Trinity Church to Newport Hospital. He also dabbled in real estate on two of thirty-four lots he purchased in the Howland Plat. The twin to this house stands at 67 Cole Street. A very similar cottage, also designed by the Mason office, was built in 1880 at 76 Howland Avenue.
The Panic of 1873 wreaked havoc with Mason's finances and depressed the real estate market. He sold off the other lots without making any improvements. Number 82 Howland is a Swiss chalet, all but identical to a half-dozen or more such modest cottages designed most probably not by Mason himself but by his son, namesake, and partner in architectural practice.
|(1992): The Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge, a concrete, balanced cantilever bridge with 52 spans, is the second bridge to span the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Opened in 1992, it took seven years to build and cost roughly $164 million. The trestle or causeway portion, designed by Gordon R. Archibald, Inc. of Pawtucket, used 29 cast-in-place spans. The main structure was designed by T.Y. Lin International of San Francisco. Of the 20 approach spans of the main portion, 15 were pre-cast at Davisville, moved by barge to the site, and lifted into place. The remaining spans were cast in place. Thousands of steel strands within the structure were stressed to strengthen the concrete and connect the span segments into one solid structure. The bridge is 75 feet wide with walkways on either side and four travel lanes. It replaced the badly deteriorated 1940 bridge whose two 11-foot lanes could not safely handle the heavy traffic of the 1980s.
The 1940 Jamestown Bridge, with its high superstructure, had a very different profile from that of its successor. It was a narrow, steel cantilever bridge, designed by Parsons, Klapp, Brinckeroff and Douglas, the New York firm which later designed the Newport Bridge. It was built in 18 months at a cost of $3 million.
|**65 OW||CAROLYN NEWTON COTTAGE (1928-29): The 1-1/2-story Newton Cottage, designed by Thomas Pym Cope of Philadelphia, is a fieldstone structure with dark-stained riven weatherboarding in the gables. The T-shaped structure has steep pitched roofs and stone central chimney. Carolyn Newton, the daughter of A.E. Newton, a Samuel Johnson scholar, entertained Thomas Mann, W.H. Auden, and other authors and poets here. The original perennial garden, in shades of grey, was designed by Helen Eliason.|
|20||LIONEL H. CHAMPLIN HOUSE / VINECROFT (1888-89): A great, rambling, 2-1/2-story, shingle-covered pile, Vinecroft's simplicity is countered by a single dominant element, a 3-story, hip-roofed tower accented by a triangular third-story oriel (added later). Built by Lionel Champlin, presumably as a summer rental, it was purchased in 1894 by T. Chester Wallbridge, of Germantown, Pennsylvania. Wallbridge, who used it as a summer residence, remodelled it about 1902. Mrs. Emily Craven purchased the place in 1922, and ran the E & E Tearoom here for at least ten years. In the late 1980s, following renovation, it was converted to a bed-and-breakfast. Its original dark-stained shingles are now beige-colored.|
|24||THE HONEYSUCKLES (1882): Like neighboring Vinecroft, The Honeysuckles, built by William A. Champlin, is a great ark of a building sprouting bay windows, oriels, gables, and pediments; it too has a hip-roofed tower, but the feature is less dominant here. It was sold to James Richardson of St. Louis, in 1889, then to his daughter, Mrs. F. H. Rosengarten of Philadelphia in 1893. The tower was added about 1901. In 1930 Emily Craven joined it to the house on the next lot (on Green Lane) and renamed it The Anchorage. It became a popular summer boarding house; meals were served at Vinecroft. The Honeysuckles, at the corner of Green Lane, was renovated between about 1988 and 1990.|
|**29 SH||DAVID R. FRANCIS COTTAGE (c. 1903): The Francis House, a shingled building with dark-painted trim, is one of the outstanding summer cottages in Shoreby Hill. In form it is a variation of a saltbox. Here the long slope of the roof is toward the front extending out over the 60-foot long porch, and enlivened by a staccato series of gabled dormers in two sizes. David Francis, original owner of the cottage, was mayor of St. Louis from 1885 to 1889, governor of Missouri from 1889 to 1893, and Secretary of the Interior from 1896-97. In 1916 he was appointed Ambassador to Russia.|
|**55 SH||GREENE HOUSE (after 1712): A 2-story, shingled, gable-on-hip-roofed house with a large, stuccoed brick, off-center chimney (which was once central), and a lean-to addition. The exact construction date of this very early house is a matter of dispute. The traditional estimate--1672 for part of the building--seems to be refuted by a 1712 deed to the property which does not mention a building on the site. The house was probably built by David Greene, a Quaker farmer and ferry owner. The Greenes worked their large farm until 1840, when Joseph Greene, David's grandson, left the house and farm in trust to the Society of Friends. The Friends ran it for some time before it was returned to the Greene heirs, who sold it in 1895 to the Jamestown Land Company, developers of Shoreby Hill. Between 1898 and 1912 this was the home of Albert A. Boone, a landscape gardener. In 1912 it was sold to Ernest W. Campbell, a Boston architect.|
|**95 SH||ETHA DAHLGREN RHETT HOUSE (1914-15): This shingled residence, a very sophisticated bungalow design, has a flank gable roof, which is brought down over the front porch in an unbroken slope on the ridge, the only accent being the chimney stack. In form and some details, such as the big studio-like window on the side, this house recalls early houses designed by McKim, Mead & White.|
|**101 SH||FRIDA K. TILLMAN COTTAGE (1912-13): This shingle-clad, 1-1/2-story house, with its recessed porch at the left front, and central gambreled pavillion flanked by shed-roofed dormers, is a very characteristic Shoreby Hill summer cottage. There is an ell at the rear.|
|**109 SH||EMILY H. CRAVEN COTTAGE (1913-14): This 2-story, gambrel-roofed, shingle-clad, summer cottage has three shed dormers and an extensive porch incorporated within the body of the building.|
|**117 SH||HELEN TOMB COTTAGE (1911-12): A typical 1-1/2-story bungalow with a shed dormer and a roof slope that kicks out over the front piazza.|
|**126 SH||AGNES DOWNES COTTAGE (1913-14): This 2-story, shingled cottage has a gambrel roof and a 3-bay symmetrical entrance front made memorable by twin Palladian window dormers. It may have been designed by Adolphus Knowles.|
|**127 SH||AMANDA KNOWLES COTTAGE (1912-13): This typical, 1-1/2-story, shingled bungalow, with a large, central, gabled dormer, was built by Adolphus C. Knowles.|
|**123 SH||ADMIRAL FAIRFAX LEARY COTTAGE (1916): The Leary Cottage is a shingled Dutch Colonial, 1-1/2-story, flank-gambrel house with a symmetrical and continuous shed dormer, a gabled portico entrance, and a large ell at the rear. It was designed by Adolphus Knowles and built by T.D. Wright for Admiral Leary who was stationed at the Newport Training Station when this cottage was built.|
|**135 SH||ADOLPHUS C. KNOWLES HOUSE (1926-27): A 1-1/2-story residence with a large, central, gabled dormer (similar to the one at 127), a piazza across the front, and a saltbox rake at the rear. This was the last house built by A.C. Knowles; it was remodeled and landscaped in 1981-82.|
|113||RIVEN ROCK (1911-12): Riven Rock is a 1-1/2-story, shingle-clad, gambrel-roofed cottage surrounded by a broad porch with shingle-clad posts. The water-facing west-side features a pair of polygonal dormers flanking a central shed-roofed dormer. It was built by T.D. Wright for Philadelphian Joseph Levering. The former garage has been converted into a cottage named The Pebble.|
|MOUNT HOPE AVENUE|
|52||EDWIN KNOWLES HOUSE (1889): A large, 2-1/2-story, cross-gabled residence, with patterned shingles at the gable ends; a hip-roofed, wrap-around porch; a flat-roofed porch at the rear; a second story porch; 1-story bay windows; and two large, stuccoed chimneys. The large lot at the corner of Conanicus includes a fine Victorian carriage shed-barn with a ventilator. Adolphus Knowles built this house for his brother. The property has been renovated by its owner, architect Andrew Yates.|
|5||CASWELL COTTAGE / HAMMOND'S HARDWARE (1884 et seq.): This 2-1/2-story, mansard-roofed structure, sited on the sidewalk line, has a bracketed cornice separating the first floor commercial space from the residential floors above. On the east side is a 1-story addition, an extension of the commercial space whose bracketed cornice is continuous with that of the main building and matches that of the Hunt Block around the corner on Conanicus Avenue. The original 2-1/2-story Caswell Cottage, built for Albert Caswell at the east end of Brook Street, was moved to Narragansett Avenue in 1892 and used as a summer boarding house. It remained in the Caswell family until Herbert Hammond bought it in 1929. Known for about 60 years as Hammond's Hardware, it is now Jamestown True Value Hardware.|
|10||BAY VIEW HOTEL ANNEX / BAY SHORE HOTEL / EAST FERRY APARTMENTS (1883); A 1-1/2-story, square, mansard-roofed structure with a central, porticoed, double-door entry in a 3-bay facade, and a shed-roofed, mostly-enclosed addition across the right side. The building, which originally had a rectangular 1-story turret in the center of the roof (removed in the mid-twentieth century) was built for William Knowles as an annex to the adjacent Bay View Hotel and known as the Bay Shore Hotel. In 1913 it was sold to Samuel Smith, who renovated the place and continued its use as a hotel. In the mid-twentieth century it became an apartment house. Set back from the street on a small lot, it is partially screened from view by a privet hedge along the sidewalk.|
|16||REM1NGTON-GRINNELL-CARR HOUSE (c. 1787): This 2-1/2-story commercial and residential building, close to the sidewalk, west of Isaac Carr's early 19th-century store, has a pair of small brick chimneys, a plain central entry in a 5-bay facade, and a 2-story addition at the rear. Reportedly built c. 1787 by Benjamin Remington, later owned by the Grinnell family, it was Isaac Carr's residence for about 50 years. Enlarged and modernized in 1913, then renovated in 1993, it is still essentially a plain Federal house and may be the oldest surviving building on Narragansett Avenue.|
|20||JAMESTOWN GARAGE (1911): A 2-story, brick-faced stuccoed building, with a corbel cornice across the top of the facade; a single, central, garage door entry; and flanking single-pane display windows. This structure is noteworthy as Jamestown's first garage, a garage in the true sense of the word as summer people stored their cars there; some of the chauffeurs lived in the adjacent Isaac Carr House (then Patrick McCafferty's).|
|34||THE PALACE / BOMES THEATRE / BOMES THEATRE MALL (1922, 1946, 1986): This 1-story, masonry structure, with a commercial facade containing two pairs of double, multi-paned doors at the center, is sited on the sidewalk. It was built as a movie theater for Jamestowners LeRoy Meredith, Aaron Richardson, and Ferdinand Armbrust by Ralph G.P. Hull. Armbrust conceived the idea for the theatre based on his experience using a movie projector at the Red Cross hut at Fort Wetherill during World War 1. The place was known for some time as the Palace. Samuel Bomes purchased the building in 1946, renovated it, and gave it his name. The building was used as a theatre for many years, then was closed for a while. In 1979 architect William Burgin directed the restoration of the theater for Jamestown Theater, Inc., to be operated for movies and special events. This venture proved unsuccessful, and in 1986 conversion also changed the exterior: the old brick facade was covered with clapboards laid both diagonally and horizontally, and the false front parapet was eliminated.|
|38||FORMER POST OFFICE (1915): A large, 2-1/2-story, shingled structure, its gable end close to the sidewalk, with a central, recessed, double-door entry, flanked by large display windows, leading to a first-floor commercial space. The residential second floor contains a porch at the left front corner and an octagonal bay at the right front corner. The Jamestown Post Office, established in 1847, was located in the lower floor of this building from 1916 to 1961. Samuel Smith, the postmaster from 1916 to 1924, built this structure and lived upstairs with his family. The building was converted to commercial use in 1961. In 1988 it was remodeled for apartments above commercial spaces.|
|41||JOHN E. WATSON HOUSE (1874): A 1-1/2-story residence, set gable end to the road, with a hip-roofed porch across the front and a rear wing. The house, sited close to the sidewalk, was the residence of town clerk, John Watson, who originally had his office on a farm. In 1874, as noted in the Newport Mercury, Watson announced to his friends and the public generally that he had moved to his cottage on Ferry Road, located within a 5-minute walk of the steamship landing. Watson kept the town records until 1882. In 1884, Mrs. Watson was postmistress and the building served as the post office. The house was in the Watson family until 1937.|
|42||COMMERCIAL BLOCK (1918): A small, 1-story, brick structure with a 3-bay facade consisting of two large display windows, an entry at the right side, and a stepped false front. This rectangular-shaped building, at the corner of Coronado Street, which has housed a variety of commercial uses and the Jamestown telephone exchange for 43 years, is a typical early twentieth-century commercial building, uncommon in largely residential Jamestown. Of the six post-World War I stepped false front buildings on Narragansett Avenue, only this one has survived.|
|45||J.W. OXX HOUSE (1907): A 1-1/2-story, shingled, cross-gambrel-roofed structure with a small gabled dormer in front; a small brick chimney near the center; a 1-story front porch with a gable peak; a central entry in a 3-bay facade; and a 1-story, flat-roofed ell at the rear. The structure is noteworthy for its varied shingles, including fishscale and square shingles, which are set in both regular and irregular courses. J.W. Oxx, a carpenter who built the Wharton Cottage and other cottages at the southern end of the island in the late nineteenth-century, built this as his own residence in 1907. He owned it until 1924; then it had several other owners. It is now used for professional office and commercial space.|
|46||FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMORIAL MUSEUM (1986): This 1-1/2-story structure, with a central double door entry in the street-facing gable end, and a tall, square tower at the left front, is sited near the street adjacent to the Jamestown Fire Station. A museum dedicated to deceased members of the Jamestown Fire Department, it houses a steam fire engine and a variety of Rhode Island fire apparatus, equipment, and memorabilia. The restored horse-drawn American LaFrance steam fire engine was acquired in 1894 and was in active service until 1930. This model is thought to be the only one of three still in working order in this country. The museum building incorporates an earlier structure, designed and built in 1958 by fire chief Merton C. Hull, which stood further back from the street than the present building.|
|50||JAMESTOWN FIRE STATION (1927-28, 1980s): A 2-story, Colonial Revival fire station, with a 2-story, low-pitched gable roof; a square, shingled clock and alarm tower; and fieldstone piers. Set back from the road behind a broad concrete apron, the station houses fire and emergency vehicles. The original structure, the 3-bay west side, was designed by Philadelphia architect Herbert J. Wetherill, a Jamestown summer resident. The tower and a section on the east side were added later. The most recent renovation added a second story across the entire front, compromising Wetherill's design. The original fire station, a wood shingled structure with a tall, square bell tower, stood next to the town hall. Formed in the early 1890s the Jamestown Fire Department was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1897.|
|57||ALEXANDER TENNANT COTTAGE (1872): The original Tennant Cottage comprises a 1-1/2-story structure with two gabled dormers that break the cornice line; a plain, gable-roofed central portico in a 5-bay facade; and a 2-part ell at a right angle at the rear. A later, large, 3-story, flat-roofed structure is attached at the rear. The old house was once known as Cedar Lodge when it was used as a summer boarding house.|
|60||ST. MARK CHURCH (I960): A long, cruciform-plan structure with a large central entry, brick and stuccoed exterior walls, and stained glass windows in the front and sides. The church building, which occupies a neat, simply-landscaped lot at the corner of Grinnell Street, is an outgrowth of a Roman Catholic society that held its first mass at the Thorndike Hotel in 1890. In 1893 a church was built on Clinton Avenue. The congregation, a mission attached to St. Mary's parish in Newport, attended services here for fourteen years. The mission became a permanent in 1909, and the church moved to the present location, the Littlefield estate. In 1960 the present building, designed by architect R. Milton Kenyon, was erected. It is substantially larger than the original St. Mark Church.|
|60 (rear)||ALVAH LITTLEFIELD HOUSE / ST. MARK'S RECTORY (c. 1890): A large, 2-1/2-story, cross-gabled, shingled structure with a gable-roof overhang; 2 tall, pilastered chimneys; a gable that breaks the cornice at the left side: a hip-roofed dormer; and entries at the rear. The rectory is set back from the street and is behind the church with which it shares a large lot. Originally the Dr. Alvah Littlefield residence, the property was acquired by St. Mark Church in 1909; then the building was moved to the back of the lot and converted for use as a rectory.|
|70||PALMER-POTTER HOUSE (early 19th century): A plain, 1-1/2-story, shingled residence, set on a high, stuccoed basement, with its gable end facing the road. There is a shed-roofed dormer added in the mid-1980s at the west side, and a rear ell. One of only a few early surviving houses along the old ferry road, it was built for Waity Palmer; in 1884 it was Sarah H. Potter's residence.|
|71||GILLINGHAM-MURRAY HOUSE (1874): A 2-1/2-story residence, with a 1-story, hip-roofed porch across the front, and a small bay at the left side. This house, at the corner of Howland Avenue, is set behind a wood picket fence, and a small front yard. It was built for Julia Gillingham, who operated it as a boarding house for 20 years before it went to E.N. Tefft. In 1925 it was purchased by Daniel P. and Margaret Murray.|
|78||CLARKE / CEPPI HOUSE (1866 et seq.): This large, 2-1/2-story structure with its complex plan, is said to be one of the first elaborate Victorian houses in Jamestown. It has had changes in its appearance, ownership, and uses since it was built, possibly as early as 1866. The building, now re-sided with aluminum, includes an entry in a central arched portico, capped with a short balustrade. There is another entry at the left front comer, a large piazza at the right side, front, and a large, 2-story ell, with rambling accretions, at the rear. A barn-garage is on the west side of a large lot, the only one of the original twenty-two township lots laid out along the ferry road in 1712 to remain intact. In 1901 the house, with seven sleeping rooms, a bath, and a stable, was offered for rent for the summer. In 1937 Dr. Patrick Lynam bought the property for professional use. Dr. C.B. Ceppi bought it in 1942 and practiced there for 40 years. The downstairs of the house was altered to accommodate the doctor's office, and later an addition was made. The office is still used professionally.|
|79||WAYSIDE (c. 1899): A 2-1/2-story, wood-shingle and aluminum-clad structure, with a 1-story, enclosed, hip-roofed porch across the front; a small, brick, center chimney; gabled dormers; and bay windows. This fine, simple, Victorian-era structure, sited near the sidewalk, is fronted by a privet hedge and bordered on the east side by a fence of arbor vitae. About 1987, a large structure was erected on the lot to the east. The house was built by T.D. Wright and John Gill for John Saunders of the Saunders shipbuilding family, who ran a coal and wood business at West Ferry.|
|86||JOHN M. DOUGLAS HOUSE/THE KNOLL (c. 1851): A 2-1/2-story structure with a central entry, with a moulded cap and double brackets, in a 3-bay facade, and paired interior brick chimneys. A plain house, whose style was more commonly used in the earliest part of the century, it is noteworthy for occupying the site of an earlier house, destroyed by fire in 1775 when the British, under Captain Wallace, set fire to all the buildings on Narragansett Avenue.|
|87||ST. MATTHEW'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH (1968): A 1-story, masonry structure, set gable end to the street, with a square, 2-story fiberglass tower and belfry at the northeast corner. Adjacent to the church is the parish house containing offices, a chapel, class rooms, and a parish hall. A former stable-carriage house, converted into a garage, now stands in the back yard of 79 Narragansett Avenue.
St. Matthew's parish was founded in 1836. In 1837 it was admitted into union with the Rhode Island Episcopal Convention. In that year, the society took a deed to a meeting house that had been built across the street on the Artillery Lot. The parish became a mission of Trinity Parish, Newport. In 1880 a new church, a shingled structure with Stick Style work in the belfry, designed by George C. Mason, Jr., was erected on the site of the present church. The earlier church was moved off the Artillery Lot and became Douglas Hall for a while before being converted to residential use.
Weakened by age and by hurricanes, the 1880 church was deemed unsafe and demolished in 1967. A new structure, designed by T. Frederick Norton, was built by Arvid Johnson, employing contemporary materials such as laminated wood and plastic.
|91||JAMESTOWN TOWN HALL (1883. 1914, 1930s): A 1-1/2-story structure set gable end to the street, with a pair of small brick chimneys at the ends, a weather entry at the west side, and a 1-story, hip-roofed addition across the front. This unpretentious public building, designed by John F. Gill and built in 1883 by James D. Hull, both Jamestown residents, replaced an earlier town hall that stood on North Road. It originally had a belfry on the ridge, near the front, which probably was removed in 1914 when the front section was added; in the 1980s changes were made to the two front windows, and the entrance moved to the west side of the building. The interior has undergone several renovations.|
|*||ARTILLERY LOT AND TOWN CEMETERY (early 18th century): At the northeast corner of the intersection of Narragansett Avenue with Southwest Avenue-North Main Road is a 100-by-150-foot lot, enclosed by a three foot-high cemented stone wall. Part of the grass-covered lot contains a number of old gravestones.
Although the original survey of Conanicut, in 1657, set aside a sizeable lot (larger than its present size) for an "Artillery Garden, a place for burial of ye dead...and for other public uses," the lot was not actually laid out until the early eighteenth century. It was used as a burial ground, but its use as a field for military practice was probably lessened, then ceased altogether. From 1731 to 1745, and in later years, a part of the land was leased to John Martin, a nearby resident, for farming and grazing. On December 16, 1775, a force of British marines and soldiers marched across the island and burned many buildings. In the vicinity of the Artillery Lot, a skirmish with colonists ensued; one marine officer was killed and seven or eight others wounded. No colonial soldiers were wounded but John Martin, standing in his doorway, was fired on and critically wounded.
|RHODE ISLAND TERCENTENARY MARKER (1936): At the northeast corner of the intersection of Narragansett Avenue with North Main Road is a triangular cement marker, five feet four inches high, containing a small bronze shield and a tablet. The shield contains a base relief of a sheep. The plaque is inscribed, "Jamestown, Incorporated 1678, named for King James II."
The marker, set out in 1936 for the Rhode Island Tercentenary, is one of 120 such monuments set beside roadsides in the state where town lines meet. However, this one, like the one on Block Island, does not mark a town boundary. Alfred E. Tickell designed the markers; the armorial designs were taken from drawings done in 1931 by Dr. Harold Bowditch for a brochure. The work was done by the Works Progress Administration.
Although handsome and informative, these monuments have not lasted well. The Jamestown shield and plaque are rare survivors of all those originally set out, and even this one has had the shield and plaque removed from one side.
|99||CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH (1891): A 1-1/2-story, complex-plan meetinghouse, set gable end to the street, at the corner of Southwest Avenue. The church is an outgrowth of the First Baptist Society of Jamestown which incorporated in 1841 and built a meeting house on North Road. As that church was too far from the center of population (the village at East Ferry was beginning to develope), a new Baptist society, the Central Baptist Church, was organized in 1867; in the following year a new church was erected here. By 1890 the building had become too small for the growing congregation, and was sold. It was moved to Cole Street for use by the Black population of the village. Adolphus C. Knowles designed and built the present edifice in 1891. Since then the building has undergone several renovations; a baptistry in 1906; a second floor memorial hall in 1912; stained glass windows in 1932; and a sanctuary and parlor in 1950-55. The church tower, damaged by storms, has been removed. Vinyl siding was installed in the 1970s.|
|138||HOLY GHOST HALL/PORTUGUESE-AMERICAN CITIZENS CLUB (1930); This long, rectangular, 1-story, shingled structure, set gable and to the street, was built by Ralph G. P. Hull. Known initially as the Holy Ghost Hall, it was constructed for a religious and social organization. Despite its size, the barn-like building fits in well with the general architectural idiom of the area.|
|175||THORNCROFT (c. 1860): A large, 2-1/2-story, shingled structure with a 2-story bay at the east side of the front; two chimneys; a gabled dormer at the east side; a 1-story, hip-roofed addition at the east side, rear; and a 2- story ell, with a tall brick chimney at the west side, rear. The residence is distinguished by its beautifully landscaped grounds consisting of large trees, including beech and locust, and shrubs such as rhododendron and boxwood.
Built by Joseph H. and Robert H. Watson, the house was in the Watson family until 1976. In 1872 Robert's son, John Jay, moved here from the family farm at Windmill Hill, and for at least 35 years was engaged in farming while carrying on his civic duties as a state legislator, state senator, and as a member of the town council, among other political activities. This building was used as a boarding house in the 1860s. Between 1873 and 1897 it was known as The Retreat, then in 1898, as Thorncroft.
|188||WHITE GATE (1875): A 2-story, stick-and-shingle residence, set gable end to the street, with broad eaves supported at the corners by "sticks." A 2-story porch across the front was demolished by Hurricane Gloria on October 27, 1985. The house was designed by the noted Newport architect George Champlin Mason for Captain John B. Landers, a Civil War veteran who, for a number of years, was Inspector of Customs at Dutch Island and later became postmaster.|
|191||MEADOWSWEET FARM (1843 et seq.): A 1-1/2-story residence with a small, brick, center chimney; a side-lighted entry in a 3-bay facade; a later pedimented portico, and a shed roof-dormer and two small gabled dormers in front. At the west side are several connected structures: a 1-story ell with a tall brick chimney; a 1-story section built in 1954, its gable end to the road, with a stone first story and shingled siding in its gable; and a smaller, 1-story addition on the east side. The present lot, an eight-acre parcel that slopes gently down to Sheffield Pond, includes a fine, shingled barn near the house, marshy woods, and open fields that permit a view of Mackerel Cove to the south.
In 1843, Meribah Watson Anthony purchased 22-1/2 acres from her brother and sister, and, with her husband, the Reverend George Anthony, built a house. Mrs. Anthony died in 1875. Subsequently the property was purchased by English architect Charles Bevins, who designed several of Jamestown's summer cottages in the 1880s. Some land was later sold, and major additions to the house made in the 1950s.
|KING FAMILY HOUSES (late 19th-early 20th centuries): Near the west end of Narragansett Avenue are four houses that belonged to the King family, Narragansett Bay pilots. Essentially plain dwellings, they document the water-oriented community at West Ferry. Although two of the houses have been altered from their original appearance, two (#222 and 228) still retain their shingled sides and front piazzas, and also have fine barns on their lots.|
|WEST FERRY LANDING/DUTCH HARBOR SHIPYARD (mid-17th century, et seq.): The west end of Narragansett Avenue terminates in a large, asphalt-covered wharf around which are pilings and moorings for commercial and pleasure boats. On the wharf is a large, recent, storage and repair building.
The West Ferry, along with Ferry Road (Narragansett Avenue) and the East Ferry, which were all established in the mid-seventeenth century, was an important link between the Narragansett Country and Newport, and beyond. In the eighteenth-century, the ferries and the road were in common use, especially in the years before the American Revolution when the South County Plantations were fully developed and enjoying an unprecedented prosperity. The West Ferry was never as important as the East Ferry, particularly after about 1872, when the inauguration of a steam ferry service between Jamestown and Newport transformed the East Ferry into a sizeable village. However, West Ferry boats continued moving passengers and freight across the West Passage to South Ferry and later to Saunderstown and Dutch Island, well into the twentieth century. Construction of the Jamestown Bridge in 1940 rendered the ferry here obsolete. The West Ferry never generated a large settlement, but it contained, at various times, a tavern, the ferry captain's house, stores, a boarding house, and residence for those engaged in water-related activities. Most of the houses, and the boatyard facility, remain today.
|(1969): The Newport Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, has a total length of 11,248 feet and a main suspended span of 1,600 feet. It is the largest suspension bridge in New England. Designed by the firm of Parsons, Brinkerhoff, and Douglas, it was opened to traffic June 28, 1969, putting an end to the more than 300-year ferry service between Jamestown and Newport.|
|**7 OW||HEYLAND CHALET (1883, c. 1905): The existing chalet-like, 2-1/2-story, wood-shingled structure has a complex history. The original structure was built for James B. Sword, a Philadelphia artist, in the style of an East Indian bungalow. Its main entrance was via a porte-cochere which formed a tower. Architect J.D. Johnston enlarged and altered the building into the chalet-bungalow idiom of the early twentieth century, as seen in such major houses as Clingstone.|
|**14 OW||THE CAPTAIN'S HOUSE (c. 1905): This 1-1/2-story, gambrel-roofed, shingle-clad structure was built for J.S.L. Wharton as a residence for Captain George H. Carr, employed by the Clingstone Whartons as a skipper of their yachts. He also saw to the maintenance of the Wharton fleet and managed the Wharton boatyard.|
|**33 OW||EGLESFELD (1886-87): A 1-1/2-story, shingled, gambrel-roofed cottage, built into the side of a hill, surrounded by a broad, shingle-clad roof, overlooking Saltworks Beach. It was probably C.L. Bevins who designed this cottage for Philadelphian Dr. R. Eglesfeld Griffith.|
|**27 OW||GENERAL PATTERSON HOUSE/THE RAMPARTS / CHANNEL BELLS (1888): General Robert E. Patterson's ambitious summer cottage features a piazza that wraps around most of the house and a gambrel against a pyramidal roof with dormers and other details. Known originally as The Ramparts, the house was designed by C.L. Bevins in his own idiosyncratic version of the Queen Anne style. Despite some simplification of the exterior trim, Bevins's preference for bold scale, complex window forms ordered by encompassing enframements, and Japanese detail, is still much in evidence. The paneled interior preserves his Queen Anne-Georgian Revival mode, with overscale eighteenth-century style elements the focus of each room. Perched high on one of the Dumplings, the piazza affords extensive views over Fort Wetherill to the east passage of the bay and the open ocean.|
|**28 OW||J.W.M. NEWLIN COTTAGE / BIRDVIEW (1888): The 2-1/2-story Newlin Cottage, perched on another rocky Dumpling, is a massive shingled affair, with hip and shed-roof dormers, a hip-roofed, wrap-around porch, and balconies on every hand.|
|**52 OW||LOUISE ALEXANDER LARNED COTTAGE / THE BOULDERS (c. 1888, c. 1893): This 1-1/2-story, shingle-clad, L-shaped dwelling has gable and modified hip roofs complicated by gable dormers and two polygonal corner towers, a very deep living porch with arched openings, another arched porch attached at the front (south end) that serves as the entrance, and large, tall, brick chimneys. Built in two stages, the Lamed cottage possesses an appealing air of casual amplitude.|
|NORTH BAY VIEW DRIVE|
|*64 CP||CONANICUT ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE / NORTH LIGHT (1885): North Light comprises a 1-1/2-story Gothic residence with a scalloped bargeboard at the gable, and a square, 3-story light tower at one comer. The scale and detailing harmonize with the prevalent architectural taste of adjacent Conanicut Park.
The light, established in April, 1886, was manned by a keeper who lived in the attached residence. In 1933 the keeper was replaced by an automatic red light signal, and the lantern and lens were removed from the top of the tower. In 1983 the light was discontinued.
The small lot at the northern tip of the island includes three outbuildings west of the lighthouse: a large, 1-1/2-story garage (converted from a barn), a 1901 brick oil house, and a 1907 brick fog signal building. Today the oil house is used for storage and the fog signal building has been converted into a guest cottage.
|NORTH MAIN ROAD|
|16||SUMNER DURFEE BUNGALOW (c. 1921): This almost miniature shingled bungalow, surrounded by manicured grounds, clipped shrubbery, flagstaff, short picket fence, and dependencies all to scale, is the early twentieth-century's beau ideal of the dwelling as "cozy nest," right down to the cast iron white cat on the roof. William F. Glen, much-loved school custodian, purchased the property in 1928. The Glens owned the property for over 60 years.|
|26||JAMESTOWN PHILOMEN1AN LIBRARY & SIDNEY WRIGHT MUSEUM OF INDIAN ARTIFACTS (1971, 1972, 1993): A long, rectangular, 1-story, masonry building, set atop a slight rise on landscaped grounds, with an arched central entry in a 7-bay facade, flanked by three, large, round-headed, multi-paned windows; corbel course extends across the central part of the building.
The Philomenian Debating Society was organized as a debating group in 1828. Its members agreed to contribute to a fund to start a library. Around the mid-nineteenth century there were two small libraries in the northern part of the island. One at 90 Carr Lane, known as the Jamestown Philomenian Library Association, was incorporated in 1847 under its original name. Another library, started in the village, joined with Carr's library to form the Jamestown Philomenian Library in 1874. In 1898, when the Carr School was built, one of the two school buildings vacated was given to the association for a library building. It was moved to the southeast corner of the Artillery Lot. In 1971, the present building was completed and the library was established at the new site; the old library building was leased to the Jamestown Historical Society.
In October, 1993, an addition of 7500 square feet was made to the 3500 square foot library building at its northeast corner. Designed by Jay Litman of Extrados Architects of Providence, the expanded area contains a meeting room that can accommodate 120 people, an office, study rooms, and a children's library.
Catherine Morris Wright gave an addition to the library in 1972 in honor of her late husband. The Sydney L. Wright Memorial Museum houses an important collection of Narragansett Indian artifacts, both historic and prehistoric, and contact period European artifacts, all recovered at the West Ferry excavation in 1966 and 1967. The excavation was conducted by Harvard archaeologist William Simmons and was sponsored by the Wrights.
This library occupies the site of the Clarke School, opened in September, 1923, where fifth to eighth grades met until 1955.
|*305 WH||WATSON / HODGKISS FARM (17th century, et seq.) : The Hodgkiss farm is centered on a 2-1/2-story, shingled. Federal farmhouse with a large, brick, center chimney; a central, pedimented entry, with pilasters, in a 5-bay facade; splayed lintel blocks over the windows; and an ell at the west side of the rear. Behind the south-facing house is a cluster of outbuildings. Part of one, a barn, was built in the nineteenth century; the rest, including the main structure of the barn, a second barn, and a well house, were built in the twentieth century. The farm's open fields, most of which are protected by conservation restrictions, slope to the bay and the Great Creek. Both the bay's shore and the creek shore contain archaeological sites. This is one of two Jamestown farms which are owned by descendants of the farms' eighteenth-century owners.
This 155-acre farm was originally part of the seventeenth-century Sanford farm. In the eighteenth century, it belonged to Thomas Hutchinson, the Governor of Massachusetts, and a Tory. After the Revolutionary War, the state confiscated the farm and sold it to pay the wages due to its war veterans. Job Watson bought the farm in 1794 and later divided it among three of his sons. Job's son Borden built his house here c. 1802. Borden's nephew Robert bought the place in 1850. He left it to his son John J. Watson. The next owner of the farm was John J. Watson, Jr. The farm, sometimes known as the Hodgkiss Farm, is presently owned by descendants of John J. Watson.
|FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE (c. 1786): A plain, 1-story, shingled structure, with two 4-panel doors in the south-facing, 4-bay facade. The meeting house was built by Quakers, who were among the first and the leading citizens of Conanicut. Initially, beginning as early as 1684, their meetings were held in the homes of members. In 1709-10, they erected a meeting house on Eldred Avenue at the site of the present Old Friends Burial Ground. In 1734 the meeting house was moved to its present location at the northeast corner of North Main Road and Weeden Lane. It was used for meetings until the present structure was erected about 1786. Until the 1830s, the Friends were the only religious society on the island who had a meeting house, although there were Episcopalians by the 1830s, and the Baptists were established by the 1840s. A century later, there were no Friends among the town's permanent residents and the meeting house was opened only from June to September for Quaker summer residents from Philadelphia. Now the meetinghouse is open every Sunday in the summer.|
|JAMESTOWN WINDMILL (1787); Set well back from the road, the windmill is positioned at the crest of the hill to catch wind from any direction. Constructed of hand-hewn chestnut timbers, and shingled on the outside, it is a 30-foot high, 3-story, tapered octagonal tower with a domed top or bonnet. The bonnet carries the windshaft and the arms, and it is designed to turn on a track to seek the wind. The arms, with their canvas sails set, must face into the wind so they can turn briskly and create enough power to turn a heavy grindstone on the ground floor. This round stone, 5-1/2 feet across, is one of a pair. The stones pulverize the grain which flows down between them from a hopper above. The finished meal flows from the stones through a delivery chute into a collection bag. Millers ground corn and other grains here for 109 years. By 1896 the miller could no longer compete with the cheaper flour and meal from western mills, and he was obliged to close the mill.
The windmill succeeds two other earlier windmills on the island. It stands on a 1/2-acre lot which was part of a confiscated Tory farm. The state legislature turned the lot over to the Town specifically for a windmill site in 1787, and the mill was built that year. Since them, it has had 11 owners. After it was closed, the windmill stood neglected until 1904, when a group of concerned islanders bought it and repaired the damage done by vandals and weather. In 1912 it was given to the Jamestown Historical Society, which has maintained it ever since. The society has undertaken several major restorations of this fine example of eighteenth-century engineering, and it is now back in working order.
|*382 WH||MILLER'S HOUSE (c. 1787): This plain, 1-1/2-story house is set gable end to the road. It has a small, brick, off-center chimney, a central entry in a 4-bay facade, and an ell at the rear. Owned by a long succession of millers, the house was probably built at the same time as the nearby windmill. Its chimney has been rebuilt and its fenestration has been changed.|
|*455 WH||WATSON FARM / THOMAS CARR WATSON FARM (17th century et seq.): One of Rhode Island's premier historic properties and the heart of one of its most beautiful historic districts, the Watson Farm has special meaning for Jamestown and for all Rhode Islanders. This 248-acre farm, bordered on the east by North Main Road and on the west by the West Passage, lies between the Watson-Hodgkiss Farm and Cedar Hill. The 1796 farmhouse is set far back from the road, near the highest part of the farm. Vistas of West Passage can be enjoyed from many parts of the property. The farm's centerpiece is the 2-1/2-story, clapboard-and-shingled, Federal Robert H. Watson House, which has a large, brick, center chimney; a central entry, with transom lights, in a 5-bay facade; multi-paned windows; and a rear ell. Typical of many early Rhode Island farmhouses, it has simple detailing, including splayed lintel blocks. Behind the house, the outbuilding complex includes three barns and a chicken coop, ranging in age from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century.
The boundaries of the Watson Farm coincide almost exactly with those laid out in 1657 to define William Brenton's 256-acre share of Conanicut Island. The east, west, and north boundaries have never changed. The south boundary changed when Brenton's land was added to the Sanford (later Hutchinson) farm, to the south. When Job Watson bought the Hutchinson farm, he restored the old boundary. Then, in 1812, he made a jog at the east end of the line when he took a small orchard lot from the corner of his son Robert's farm (the Watson Farm) and added it to his son Borden's farm (the Watson-Hodgkiss Farm). There have been no changes since then. Of the 22 farms laid out on the island in 1657, the Watson Farm is the one with least altered boundaries. Moreso than anywhere else, the visitor to Watson Farm may see what 18th- and 19th-century Jamestown looked like: the spare but handsome house and farm buildings, the great sweep of fields and sky, and the view across the bay. The farm was owned by five successive generations of Watsons; some were farmers, some were not. Most of them were active in town affairs; all were caring stewards of their family farm. The last owner, Thomas Carr Watson, left the farm in 1979 to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, with a $1 million gift, on the condition that the SPNEA maintain it as a working farm. SPNEA is the steward of the historic farm now, preserving both its buildings and the unparalleled landscape.
TIDDEMAN HULL HOUSE (c. 1840): This 1-1/2-story building has a large, brick, center chimney; a simply framed central entry in a 3-bay, south-facing facade; and, built much later, an ell at the rear, with an exterior chimney. The house stood originally near the corner of North Main Road and old Eldred Avenue. When that site was taken for the new Route 138 West, the house was moved to the Watson Farm.
|**||JAMESTOWN TOWN POUND (1861): A somewhat irregular, 4-sided, 40-by-40-foot enclosure, constructed of irregularly-sized and shaped fieldstones. The walls, about three feet thick at the base and tapering to about one-and-a-half feet at the top, contain a four-foot opening. This pound, the sixth successive one erected in Jamestown, was constructed in 1861 by Amaziah K. Gorton and was continuously used for 60 years. It replaced an earlier enclosure which stood nearby.
The first pound was erected in 1699 to contain stray animals. Constructed of wood, it was located near the intersection of North Main and Weeden Lane. Replacements to the original pound, also of wood posts and rails, were made at the same site in 1717 and 1750. A temporary pound was also constructed on the Artillery Lot in 1750. In 1770 the town council voted to have a more permanent structure of dry laid stones erected elsewhere, and one was built near the present location. Its stone walls were rebuilt in 1829 and 1833. By 1860 it had fallen into a state of disrepair and construction of the present pound was voted. The town purchased a 40-foot square parcel of land here and used the stones from the old pound to construct a new one in 1860. The pound was intermittently repaired in 1893, 1901, 1914, and 1918. By 1921 it had fallen into general disuse, but even after this, it was still occasionally used to hold stray cattle and horses.
|757||WILLIAM BATTEY HOUSE (c. 1755): A 2-1/2-story, shingled farmhouse with a brick center chimney and a 1-story, shed-roofed, enclosed porch across most of the front. William Battey, who built the house, was a royalist sympathizer during the Revolutionary War, supplying the British with produce during their occupation of Newport in 1776-79.|
|783||FIRST BAPTIST MEETING HOUSE (c. 1841): A 1-1/2-story structure with a central entry in a 3-bay, east-facing facade, and a 1-story ell at the west side. The First Baptist Society of Jamestown held its first meetings in the North School House, which stood nearby, before erecting this building in 1841. Services were held here until 1880, then part of the membership left to join the Central Baptist Church in their newly-constructed meeting house on Narragansett Avenue. Some of the congregation went to other denominations, principally Episcopalian. In 1934 the building was converted to a dwelling.|
|920||FRED INGERSON HOUSE (1984): This modern "shed" style residence, with typical shed roof and vertical board siding, is one of several of this type on Jamestown (see also 30 Highland Avenue).
It is unusual in that it was designed and built by the owner, Fred Ingerson, for his own use. Ingerson has built a number of houses on the island varying in style from Colonial to contemporary types.
|75||CORB1T LOVERING COTTAGE (1911-12): A fine, wood-shingled, cross-gabled, chalet-bungalow, one of the important later works of Newport architect J.D. Johnston and typical of his early twentieth-century work on Conanicut. Jamestown contractor T.D. Wright built this house for Corbit Levering of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. It was one of three summer places (along with 101 and 113 Melrose Avenue) in a family compound on the shore of Dutch Island Harbor. The house was remodeled and enlarged for the present owners by H. Clifford Wright, Jr., grandson of T.D. Wright. Bay windows and an upper deck were a later addition.|
|OCEAN HIGHLANDS-WALCOTT AVENUE HISTORIC DISTRICT|
|**||This district, shaped in the form of a reverse L, extends south from Jamestown village. The irregular ocean shoreline, from the Dumplings area to Southwest Point, forms the southern boundary, Mackerel Cove bounds the district to the west, and the East Passage defines its extensive eastern limits. Walcott Avenue and its curving continuation, Highland Drive, are the major arteries, along which are located most of the significant buildings in the district.
Within this peninsular area are about four dozen architecturally significant structures, including large summer residences, or "cottages," some of which take advantage of the hillocks that provide breathtaking panoramas of the bay and ocean. Most were built in the 1880s; other residences were added at intervals until about 1935. About half the recorded houses are associated with noteworthy architects, principally local designers C.L. Bevins and J.D. Johnston. They comprise some of the finest big, casual, shingle-clad summer houses to be found anywhere. This is the best place in Rhode Island to appreciate the charm and sophistication of Shingle Style architecture.
Along the southern coast stood once-famed Fort Dumpling, a masonry Martello tower built in 1798-1800, and several large late nineteenth-century cottages. Beginning in 1898, the U.S. Government took a large tract in the Dumplings area for Fort Wetherill. Four cottages in the tract were demolished to clear the site for the new fortifications.
The present district encompasses several old farms and plats. The Dumpling Farm occupied the southern part of the island here, its northern boundary north of today's Blueberry Lane. It extended across the island, from Mackerel Cove to the East Passage. Included in the old farm plat was the southeast corner of the island, known as the Dumplings. In 1874 the Ocean Highland Company was formed. It acquired this tract and began selling land. The old Cottrell Farm, north of Dumpling Farm, also extended across the island from east to west. It was platted in 1887; the first houses were erected along and near Walcott Avenue and along the East Passage shore. Only the eastern part of the Cottrell Farm Plat is within the present district. Several houses are also located in what was Gardner Farm Plat and Ferry Meadow Plat in the northern part of the district, adjacent to Jamestown village.
The Ocean Highlands Company was formed at a very inauspicious time for a land development firm-in the midst of the national economic depression known as the Panic of 1873. Philip Caswell, Jr., led the group of investors who bought 240 acres from the Cottrell heirs. Caswell, a Jamestown native, became a druggist in Newport, then moved his firm to New York (where it later became Caswell-Massey, Inc.), and upon his return to Newport he speculated in real estate. He planned not only to sell Ocean Highlands lots to summer folk, but also to build a resort hotel, the Hotel Conanicus. It was never built, and until 1881 no cottages went up either. Ocean Highlands was inaccessible; it was easier to sail directly here from Newport than it was to reach via the Newport Ferry, for no road connected the area to the center of town until 1884 (this despite the fact that the president of the Ocean Highlands Company, Frederick Cottrell, owned the intervening farm).
In order to spark development, Philip Caswell gave a site to the first cottage-builder --William Trost Richards of Philadelphia, a marine artist whose Newport summer cottage was getting too hemmed in by neighboring houses to suit his taste. The Highlands property was ideal from his perspective for it was on the water, unencumbered by development, and offered endless subject matter for his sketch pad and brush. But Richards's choice was somewhat self-defeating, for in his wake a number of other Philadelphians followed, happy to give up Newport in favor of less hectic summer environs. Most notable among these converts to Jamestown was his friend Joseph Wharton, who had been summering with family and fellow Quakers in Newport's Point section since the 1860s, and who, as a lover of small boats and marine specimens, had been exploring the Jamestown shore for some decades. In June of 1882 Joseph Wharton paid $25,000 for thirty acres just west of Richards's property and built a spectacular stone and shingle house (now called Horsehead) completed in 1884.
Richards, who designed his own house, may have had a hand in the designing of the Joseph Wharton place. It is known that the British-trained architect Charles L. Bevins worked on the house, as did architect and contractor J.D. Johnston. Bevins and Johnston went on to play a decisive design role in the area, designing many houses.
Walcott Avenue connected Ocean Highlands to Jamestown Village in 1884. It traversed the Cottrell Farm which was platted in 1887. Here, along Walcott Avenue and Racquet Road, a series of fine shingled cottages were constructed, most, as in the case of Ocean Highlands, belonging to wealthy Philadelphia families.
As noted above, the bulk of the historic buildings in the district are shingled cottages of the 1880-1910 era. In addition to the Wharton House, a sampling includes the Barnacle (1886), 15 Dumpling Drive, designed by Bevins; the Wistar Morris House, Highland (1884-86), 195 Highland Drive; Clingstone (1902-05), also by Johnston; the General Patterson House (1888) by Bevins, 27 Newport Street; the Round House (also called "The Monitor" after the Confederate warship), a shingled copy of Fort Dumpling designed by Charles McKim and built for Daniel Newhall in 1888, 104 Racquet Road; Johnston's Woodward House, Onarock (1896), 105 Walcott; the Charles Bailey House (1898-99), 121 Walcott, by Bevins; Johnston's Schroder House, Stoneseat (1888-89), 140 Walcott Avenue; and the second Selfridge House, Red Top (now Green Chimneys) (1889), possibly by Bevins, 185 Walcott. In addition, the district boasts several really outstanding later houses, most notably the Henszey House, Altamira (1905), by Selfridge and Obermaier, 60 Racquet Road; and the Lippincotts' Stone House (1926) by Albert Harkness, 216 Highland Drive.
The continuity of summer house development in the Ocean Highlands Plat was interrupted between 1895 and 1905 by construction of Fort Wetherill. The reinforced concrete Endicott-era battery, with its adjacent facilities, necessitated the demolition of four cottages (including William Trost Richards's house) and of old Fort Dumpling. With these exceptions almost all the dwellings built in the Ocean Highlands-Walcott Road district before 1930 survive, many remarkably well preserved. Except for the section closest to town, this district is characterized by large single-family houses, all separated from neighboring dwellings by spacious grounds, irregular terrain, and (over the past half-century) by the considerable growth of trees and shrubbery mantling what had been a bald and rocky landscape.
|OLD WALCOTT AVENUE|
|22||ROWLAND HOUSE (1875): This high-shouldered, 2-1/2-story, aluminum-sided house has a mansard roof with gabled dormers: a polygonal corner tower; and a symmetrical 3-bay entrance portico, with a balcony which was originally hooded. John Howland had his mansion built on the site of his old farmhouse when he laid out the Howland Plat on the family farm. The new house was the most imposing one on the island at the time. Designed by George C. Mason, of Newport, and built by Charles Maxon, of Westerly, it was a simplified and somewhat scaled-down version of Mason's 1873-74 C.N. Beach House on Newport's Kay Street.|
|**24 CP||CRANSTON COTTAGE / CAMP SEASIDE (1873): A 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled house with a 1-story, wrap-around piazza; a central double-door entry in a 3-bay facade; 1-story bay windows; and carpenterwork at the gable end and in small gabled dormers that break the cornice. The house commands a fine view of the East Passage over a broad expanse of lawn. Erected on speculation by Langley, Finch, and Engs of Newport, the cottage was sold to James E. Cranston, also of Newport, in 1880. It remained in the Cranston family until 1916, and was subsequently acquired by the Providence YWCA as an addition to Camp Seaside, established next door in 1878.|
|**93 CP||CONAN1CUT PARK HOTEL ANNEX (c. 1874): A 1-1/2-story, clapboard and patterned-shingle residence with a wrap-around piazza. Its gable end faces the water, to the east, a short distance away. The long side of the house fronts Broad Street, which connected East Shore Road with the nearest steamboat landing. Behind the house is a small privy. This structure once served as an annex to the Conanicut Park Hotel. The land company sold the property in 1905, but the similarity of this structure to the Hoyt and Graves cottages suggests it may be one of Conanicut Park's early cottages, possibly Enos Hayward's, built in 1874.|
|**37 CP||TALBOT COTTAGE (1875): A 1-1/2-story residence with a shed-roofed open porch across the front and part of the north side, and an entry at the west side of a 3-bay facade. The cottage, on a short, dead-end street, is one of the few Conanicut Park residences not located along East Shore Road.|
|**12 SH||CAPTAIN DUNBAR COTTAGE (c. 1914): A 1-1/2-story and 2-story, shingled bungalow built as a summer cottage for Captain Dunbar, M.D., U.S.N., and his wife. It was rented for several summers, and in 1929 purchased by Captain Chew, who added a cellar.|
|**13 SH||LAWRENCE TURNBULL COTTAGE (c. 1889, c. 1901): This somewhat altered shingled residence stood on Union Street until about 1901, when this lot was purchased and the house moved here. Brick steps replace an entrance porch and the big south-facing porch is now glassed in. In 1929 this cottage was rented for the summer by Alice Roosevelt Longworth.|
|**19 SH||L. SANFORD CROWELL HOUSE (1950): This 2-story, shingled Cape has two gabled dormers and a central entry in a 5-bay facade. It was designed by W.T. Canning and built by Lewis W. Hull of Jamestown. The landscaping of the house is noteworthy. The yard was once Julia Parker's rose garden, designed and planted c. 1926 by Albert A. Boone of Jamestown. The present rock garden, birdbath, wire fence, gate, and evergreens are part of the original garden.|
|**10 OW||ADMIRAL JOHN VAN BENTHUYSEN BLEEKER COTTAGE (1889-90): This summer cottage, near Walcott Avenue, is a relatively plain, 2- story, shingle-clad structure, with a large chimney in the center of its hip roof.|
|**11||ADMIRAL E.Y. MCCAULEY COTTAGE/MIST (1889): A shingled, 1-1/2-story, Colonial Revival, summer cottage, gambrel-roofed, with a "saltbox" profile at the rear. Mist is sited on a steep, rocky hillside. It was designed by J.D. Johnston.|
|**60 OW||WILLIAM P. HENSZEY HOUSE / ALTAMIRA (1905): Perched in splendid isolation on the highest of the hillocks which dot the Dumplings area, Altamira lives up to its name, affording vistas up the bay, across to Newport, and out to sea. Designed by New York architects Selfridge & Obermaier, this is a very large shingled summer house, imposing in siting and scale, yet very low-key and homelike. The house is approached by long private drives from the north and west. On the west, a service ell juts out at an angle to the main body of the dwelling; here too is a half-round, turreted stair tower, glazed all around at the second story level. The house is basically rectangular�a 2-1/2-story structure with a hip-roof girdled by a 100-foot long porch. Beautifully preserved inside and out, Altamira epitomizes an important aspect of American taste in early twentieth-century architectural design-big, bold, unpretentious, comfortable, and friendly. Below the house, on Racquet Road, is the stable, and on the shore, a bungalow-boathouse (see following entry). Mrs. Joseph N. Ewing, oldest child of Mary Henszey and Dr. Thomas G. Ashton, has owned Altamira since 1943.|
|**90 OW||COACHMAN'S COTTAGE (1912-13): This 1-1/2-story, wood shingled bungalow, set gable end to the road, has a series of 3 large gabled dormers across the front and a porch, with latticework, formed by the roof overhang. Sited beside the shore below Altamira, the Henszey estate, with which it has always been associated, still remains an integral part of Altamira. Originally it was used by the coachman for Altamira's owner. A long, 1-story building at the rear was once used as a boathouse. There is also a bath house.|
|**104 OW||ROUND HOUSE (1888): The Round House is, as its name implies, a circular, 45-foot diameter, 3-story "bastion," with mock ramparts, executed in timber, clad with shingle. This eccentricity pays homage to Jamestown's much-beloved Fort Dumpling which stood nearby as a picturesque ruin into the late 1890s. Fort Dumpling was a Martello tower, an elliptical, multi-story, stone bastion for coastal defense. It was originally called the Monitor after its resemblance to a ship's turret. Nearby are the still active sheds of the Round House (now dark) Boatyard. A 1-story, hip-roofed annex, built in 1901 and attached to the tower by a covered walkway, originally the cook's house, contained service rooms and servant's quarters; it was remodeled extensively after the 1938 hurricane.
Charles McKim, of McKim, Mead & White, designed the house for Daniel S. Newhall of Philadelphia. According to a contemporary newspaper article, Newhall had the building built against the sides of a high rock in such a manner that the rock extended into and occupied a portion of the house. The entrance was on the second story. A grand saloon occupied the center of the building. A covered deck, opening to the southeast, gave a lookout toward the ocean. Opening out of the saloon, along the sides, were six staterooms. On the lower floor were the galley, two servant's rooms, and a storage area. In March, 1991, a fire heavily damaged the Round House, but it was rebuilt. The annex, the source of the fire, was completely destroyed.
|**110 OW||ROUND HOUSE SHIPYARD / CLARK BOATYARD (c. 1935): This boatyard lies along the southeast shore of the main part of Jamestown, opposite the rock cluster called the Dumplings and adjacent to the Round House (see previous entry). The marine establishment contains several utilitarian buildings--sheds, a storehouse, and work barns--used to service boats. The yard was established about 1935 by Captain Earl C. Clark, who ran and maintained the Newhall yachts for about ten years, then set up the boatyard on Newhall property. The land was turned over to the Clark family in 1959 and the place renamed Clark Shipyard in 1985. One of two yards in the Dumplings area, it is now operated by Clark's son, grandson, and granddaughter.|
|CARR-HAZARD HOUSE (c. 1760): This early 2-1/2-story farmhouse, visible from Tashtassuck Road (south side of Route 138 East) has a plain entry in a 4-bay south-facing facade, a large, off-center, brick chimney, and a later, 1-1/2-story ell at the west side. The lot, bounded on the north by a stone wall, contains two outbuildings, including a mid-nineteenth-century shed-roofed barn. This property was originally part of a 100-acre farm located on the south side of old Eldred Avenue. It was owned by three generations of Carrs, followed by six generations of the Hazard family. Thomas Carr (1696-1776) bought the land in 1745; his son Benjamin is thought to have built the house somewhat later. Early in the nineteenth century, Thomas Hazard bought the farm from Benjamin's heirs and added it to his acreage on the north side of the road. Known locally as the Hazard farm, it was occupied by Hazard descendants until I960. In the 1940s they sold most of the farm to the developers of the Jamestown Shores Plat. More recent subdivision has left the farmhouse with slightly over one acre of land.|
|**6 OW||JOHN CARTON HOUSE/LE CADEAU (c. 1895): This large, 2-1/2-story, shingled summer house has a gable roof with hip-roof dormers and a porch facing east to the bay. The entrance is in a projecting square pavillion incorporating an enormous angled and stepped staircase window.|
|SHOREBY HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT|
|**||Shoreby Hill is a residential development just north of Jamestown village, extending from Conanicus Avenue and the bay shore on the east to North Main Road on the west. Almost the entire plat was designed along several curvilinear streets. The upper section, which gradually rises to an elevation of 90 feet above sea level, included a rotary. Apart from the original farmhouse, all houses in Shoreby Hill were erected here after 1898 (one house was built elsewhere about 1889 and moved here about 1901). About a dozen of the Shoreby Hill houses were built in the first rush of construction in 1898-99. By 1936, about fifty additional houses had been erected, most of these in upper Shoreby Hill.
The history of the old Greene Farm and farmhouse is incomplete, but it appears that the original house (only part of whose original fabric remains due to subsequent alterations and changes) was built sometime after 1712 by David Greene. The land was farmed well into the nineteenth century. In 1861 the Greene Farm was surveyed and a map was drawn. The boundaries of Shoreby Hill coincide with the boundaries of the homestead farm as shown on the 1861 map.
Shoreby Hill, the last of Jamestown's nineteenth- century land developments, was started in the closing years of the century. Daniel Watson, a local real estate entrepreneur, served as agent for the Jamestown Land Company, headed by two St. Louis residents--Ephron Catlin, a drug manufacturer, the company's president, and James Taussig, a lawyer, the treasurer. St. Louis families had known Jamestown for some time as summer hotel visitors. In 1896 the Jamestown Land Company purchased the 58-acre Greene Farm near the village, then hired Ernest W. Bowditch to design the new development.
The landscape design of Shoreby Hill turned out to be a combination of the experiences of the St. Louis men and Ernest Bowditch. Bowditch was evidently familiar with English landscape design, both on individual properties and with communities involving relatively large tracts of land and many house plats, in a variety of natural settings. He had worked in Newport and in Lenox, Massachusetts; he contributed to the design of country estates in various parts of New England, and in 1885 he completed his major work�Tuxedo Park, New York�a 2500-acre hilly and wooded tract. Bowditch's Shoreby Hill plan called for irregularly-shaped drives at the front, or Lower Shoreby Hill section. The rear of the oddly-shaped property, a rectangular section, was not as well suited to picturesque design, but gently-curving roads and a circle and semi-circular drives provided curvilinear form here. Along the shore road was a crescent-shaped green, separated by Park Lane from a larger crescent which originally had been designed to contain thirteen house lots, but today is a grassy, meadow-like open space. Under the supervision of forester James H. Bowditch, plants, shrubs, and trees were planted. All the streets in the plat were tree-lined.
Practical considerations were also attended to. Shoreby had the latest in paved roads, sidewalks, sewer lines, and water service. Dust and dysentery, the bane of many cottage settlements, were not to be tolerated. Additionally, Shoreby residents had a pier and beach and the use of a casino where they could take meals if they did not want to bring a full retinue of servants from home.
The St. Louis connection is probably responsible for defining the kind of development that evolved in Shoreby Hill. Beginning as early as 1851, St. Louis residents had begun to develop tracts of land at the outskirts of the central part of their home city for their residences. To ensure privacy and to escape the noise, congestion, and other unfavorable aspects of urban life, private streets were laid out. Residents of these private places were subject to regulations regarding the use of the land, including setbacks of houses and uses of the property. Both Taussig and Catlin, prime movers of the Shoreby Hill development, lived on private streets in St. Louis, and reportedly other private place residents of St. Louis were among the early residents of Shoreby. Other prominent St. Louis residents who built summer homes here included Edward Mallinckrodt, a bank director and owner of chemical plants in several states, and David Francis, who served as mayor of St. Louis, Governor of Missouri, Secretary of the Interior, and Ambassador to Russia. All early houses sited along the rise above the meadow (on Alden, Emerson, and Hawthorne roads) were built by St. Louis residents. The meadow, which was to contain thirteen houses, was probably acquired by the first families to ensure their uninterrupted view of the bay.
The earliest big, shingled structures facing the water, define Shoreby Hill's character. Most date from 1898-99. Their architects chiefly remain unknown, for the most part. One house, 5 Alden Road, a styleless but very sophisticated hip-roofed, shingled house with recessed porches, is known to be the work of Newport-based Creighton Withers; others are also attributed to Withers. In general, Shoreby's houses are more typically shingled, gambrel-roofed dwellings with elaborate cross gables and Colonial Revival trim. Such houses were built throughout Shoreby's three decades of development. The most elaborate of the later houses is the Mallinckrodt House at 41 Emerson Road. A typical upland version of this house is the 1912-13 Tillman Cottage at 101 Longfellow Road. These houses were part of a fairly large number built around this time along Standish, Longfellow and Whittier, following what appeared to be a brief hiatus in building after the turn of the century. In addition to the traditional Shingle Style, many were built in the bungalow style, popular throughout the nation during this decade. After that, building continued at a modest pace, mostly filling in between older residences.
Shoreby Hill today presents two faces. The original and relatively intact summer colony is comprised of the biggest, most elaborate, and costly houses. Grouped around the green, they enjoy a superb marine vista across the greensward. Behind them are progressively more modest and more recent cottages, lining the shady back streets and occupying typically suburban-sized lots.
|123||CASEY HOUSE (1980): This shingled post-modern house has a large, stuccoed, center chimney and two banks of windows across the west (water-facing) side, one in a long shed-roofed dormer. The landscaped grounds include a garden between the house and garage which are connected by a tall wooden fence that conceals the garden. Designed by Michael Jones, a Cape Cod architect, and built by Roy Seelenbrandt of North Kingstown, this house served as the model for three other Jones houses in Jamestown, including one at 65 Highland Drive.|
|SAMUEL ROSENGARTEN HOUSE (1911-12): A large, 2-1/2-story residence with a central shed dormer, a broad, shed-roofed entry, paired interior end chimneys, and 2- and 1-story extensions at the west side ending in a garage along Coronado Street.|
|**17 SH||ALONZO TEFFT COTTAGE (19'6): This 1-1/2-story, shingled bungalow has a flank-gable roof with a large, multi-windowed shed dormer, and a porch formed by the continuation of the roofline. It was built by T.D. Wright for Alonzo Tefft.|
|**53 SH||SOPHIE SCHAUS COTTAGE (1926-27): A late, shingled bungalow with a fieldstone exterior chimney and a gabled roof with a big shed dormer that kicks out over the front piazza.|
|**73 SH||HENRY G. SMITH HOUSE (1921-22): This residence has a vaguely Colonial main elevation--a 2-story, flank-gabled central section containing the entrance flanked by symmetrical saltbox wings intersecting the central block. Similar in form to the Baillie-Scott-inspired Pink House (see 75 Walcott Avenue), this is one of the largest of the many noteworthy house constructed in Shoreby Hill. Henry Gerrish Smith, original owner of this summer cottage, was a vice president of Bethlehem Steel.|
|**199 CP||JERNEGAN ESTATE/NORTH POINT / STEARNS FARM (1886-87): The Steams Farm occupies a large, open tract of land, bounded by and including fine dry-laid stone walls, at the northwest corner of the island. The centerpiece of the estate is a house described as a "substantial villa" and several nearby outbuildings. The 2-story, cross-gabled Queen Anne house features two large brick chimneys, an octagonal corner tower with balustrades, and a 1-story, wrap-around porch that projects out at the east side. West of the house are a cow barn and a stable, which has a tower with a domed roof. Along the shore are two masonry and shingle boathouses with distinctive round windows.
The original 4-1/2-acre property was carved out of two Conanicut Park blocks. The house was built for Mary Ellen Jernegan, wife of Dr. Holmes M. Jernegan of Boston; it was sold in 1898 to Waldo Steams and still remains in Steams family ownership. Maurice Steams designed the boathouses along the shore in the 1930s. Lewis Hull built the boathouses and the cow barn.
|2||F.E. HOMAN COTTAGE / DRIFTWOOD (1890): Driftwood, a 1-1/2-story, gambrel-roofed cottage with a porch across the front, an enclosed porch at the side, and a polygonal corner tower, was designed by C.L. Bevins and built on Lincoln Street for F.E. Homans as one of a pair. When moved to this site in 1904 by Patrick H. Horgan, the corner treatment with the high-peaked roof was added.|
|PATRICK HORGAN COTTAGES (c. 1901-02, 1910-11): This pair of 1/2-story mansarded houses, with tall towers and front porches, were built as summer rental cottages by entrepreneur P.H. Horgan. Number 4 was for a time the rectory of St. Matthews Church.|
|10, 16||EUSTIS COTTAGES (c. 1882, 1884): Now somewhat altered, these are two of the three ample cottages erected by Professor H. L. Eustis of Harvard and his family. Both of these 2-1/2-story residences are cross gabled and have porches at the right side. Number 10 has a 2-story bay in the front. Number 16's architectural detailing includes brackets, rafter extensions, and bargeboard.|
|**36 OW||DAVID DIXON PORTER COTTAGE / BELVEDERE (1888-89, 1940s): A 1-1/2-story, clapboard-and-shingle clad cottage with long shed dormers across the front and rear, and a shed roofed piazza across the front. The top story of the residence was removed in the 1940s. The house, which occupies a large lot on a terrace behind a cemented stone wall, was built by David Porter (1813-1891). Porter served in the Mexican War (1846-48), held important commands during the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), and was promoted to rear admiral. From 1865 to 1969 he was superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and was promoted to admiral in 1870, succeeding his foster brother, David Farragut, as the Navy's top admiral.|
|**39 OW||ARTHUR B. EMMONS COTTAGE / GREEN ACRES (1889): This 2-1/2-story, hip-roofed, shingled, Colonial Revival, summer house, designed by J.D. Johnston and erected by Arthur B. Emmons, is one of three rental cottages facing the bay. One other (41 Walcott Avenue) survives. This one is set back from the street on a former carriage road, with a view of the nearby shore and Newport to the east.|
|**41 OW||ARTHUR B. EMMONS COTTAGE (1892-93): Like number 39, this large, 2-1/2-story, hip-roofed, shingle-clad dwelling, sited along the water, was built by Arthur Emmons as a rental property. J.D. Johnston's drawings for this generous, bay-facing summer house are preserved at the Newport Historical Society. The third cottage in the Emmons enclave was demolished in 1939.|
|**45 OW||HARRIET STEVENS COTTAGE / SIXTY STEPS (1885): This L-plan, 1-1/2-story, gambrel-roofed, shingled. Colonial Revival, summer house, located near the water, is the work of Robert Hammett. An interesting series of outbuildings includes a picturesque wellhead.|
|WHITEWOOD (1887): This end-gable, 2-1/2-story, bracketed cottage has a high peaked roof, several bay windows, and an airy porch running across the front and down the side. Erected on Knowles Court, just north of the Bay View Hotel, by local contractor and sometime architect, Adolphus Knowles, this rental cottage was purchased by Patrick Horgan and moved to its present site in 1908. In the 1950s it was divided into three apartments by C.W. Wharton.|
|**57 OW||JOHNSON-SCHAUS COTTAGE (1895): This 1-1/2-story dwelling, with an encircling, hip roofed porch, has a vaguely Swiss style design. It features large, shed-roofed dormers and a big, multi-pane triple window on the entrance front behind which the third floor staircase runs diagonally. J.B. Johnson of St. Louis erected this handsome shingled cottage, which still remains in family ownership.|
|**58 OW||ROSE COTTAGE (c. 1900): This 1-1/2-story, cross-gabled, hip-roofed, shingled cottage, with a wraparound porch and a 3-story, octagonal corner tower, was probably built by Alvin Peckham. It is a twin to his earlier home at 86 Walcott Avenue. Rose Cottage and adjacent Twin Towers were summer rentals originally owned by Charles E. Weeden.|
|**64 OW||CHARLES E. WEEDEN COTTAGE / TWIN TOWERS (1900): Twin Towers is named for the pair of octagonal corner turrets which distinguish its main elevation. The 2-1/2-story, shingled house has a big, pediment-like cross gable above the twin towers; between the towers is a broad bay window; below all this, girdling the house, is a wide, shed-roofed porch, partially glassed in. It may have been Alvin Peckham who designed this residence for Charles Weeden.|
|**75 OW||THE PINK HOUSE (1919-20); The Pink House is a 2-story, stuccoed dwelling set back from the road on a private drive. The major facade, facing west (toward the road), consists of a central, hip-roofed section flanked by "saltbox" gable ends. This elevation contains a large, arched, multi-pane stair window and a central porticoed entry. The bay-facing side has an octagonal, 2-story bay on one side of a porch with a pergola. A stuccoed garage at the driveway is connected to the house by a stuccoed wall. A long expanse of lawn drops gently to the water, affording a distant view of Newport. In form and materials, and in some details (such as the entrance portico), this house, designed by Boston architect Joseph Lelend for Lawrence Keeler, recalls the widely admired early twentieth-century work of British architect M.H. Baillie Scott. Keeler was agent and manager of the Whitin Machine Works of Whitinsville, Massachusetts.|
|**86 OW||ALVIN PECKHAM HOUSE/ERONEL (1897-98): This 2-1/2-story, shingled house, set on a spacious lot, has a hip roof with large cross gables, an octagonal corner, and an encircling porch. The name Eronel is a typical summer house conceit instituted not by Alvin Peckham, the original owner, but by a later owner named Joseph B. McCall, who reversed the spelling of a name shared by both his wife and daughter, Lenore, to come up with a name for their country home. The Newport Mercury reported in October, 1897, that Peckham's cottage was under construction and had already been rented for the season of 1898 to E.D. Pearce of Providence. The McCalls bought the adjoining lot to the west about 1930 and moved the cottage back from the street.|
|**89 OW||DANIEL LYMAN HAZARD COTTAGE / LEDGEHURST (1887. 1962 et seq.): A large, 2-1/2-story, shingle-clad structure, simple in form, with a recessed entrance porch and a vast tinted glass window which lights the staircase. A series of renovations were made between 1962 and 1975, including adding a second story porch, a garage (1973), and enclosing the northeast corner of the porch (1975). This C.L. Bevins house was built by David Cook, Jr., of Newport. Sited near the water, the house offers an expansive view of the bay to the east.|
|**95 OW||J.P. GREEN COTTAGE/ANOATOCK (1889): This large, 2-1/2-story, shingled residence is set back from the road across a broad expanse of lawn. It was designed by C.L. Bevins as a summer cottage for John P. Green, of Philadelphia, vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. A pier at the nearby Cottrell Farm beach was built to accommodate his yacht.|
|**105 OW||SAMUEL WOODWARD HOUSE/ONAROCK (1896): Rising from a rocky eminence, this enormous house has angled wings and a big, half-round tower at the intersection which acts as a visual "hinge." The 2-1/2-story, shingled structure has low hip roofs, numerous hip-roofed dormers, and a broad, hip-roofed entrance portico. The continuity and horizontality of the mass is accented by a belt-like band of kicked-out shingling at the second floor level. The original owner, Samuel W. Woodward, was a co-owner of the Woodward and Lothrop department store in Washington, D.C. Specifications for building this splendid summer cottage reveal that it is the work of J.D. Johnston, the Newport builder-architect whose best work-all done late in his life, and all shingled summer houses-is in Jamestown.|
|**121 OW||CHARLES N. BAILEY COTTAGE (1898-99): Unique in the work of architect Charles L. Bevins, the Bailey House is a strange yet wonderful Colonial Revival building, almost post-modern in sensibility. The high-shouldered, 2-1/2-story, shingled house presents a symmetrical 3-bay entrance front made asymmetrical by a service ell thrusting out from the north face of the building. The main block has a gambrel roof with a pedimented, cross-gabled entrance pavillion incorporating both a big Palladian window and a triple window just below. The roof form is complicated by carrying the gambrel gables up into parapet chimneys; the effect is, with the overscale details of the cornices, that of broken pediments. Withal, this is one of Jamestown's most appealing nineteenth-century summer places.|
|**129 OW||FORMER BAILEY CARRIAGE HOUSE (1898-99): This former Bailey outbuilding, now a residence, has gables similar in treatment to the main house (see preceding entry). The structure, whose design is attributed to C.L. Bevins, is sited very close to the road.|
|**135 OW||BERTHA COLES COTTAGE (1917): This is a large, more-or-less Dutch Colonial, gambrel-roofed, 1-1/2-story, shingled dwelling, with entrance porches facing out to the bay. Adolphus Knowles built this house for Walter Lippincott's daughter. Bertha Coles. Brockie and Hastings were the architects. On the property is a guest house.|
|**140 OW **||ADMIRAL SEATON SCHRODER COTTAGE / STONESEAT (1888-89): This shingled. Colonial Revival cottage, designed by J.D. Johnston, has an L-shaped plan. The end of the "L" facing the street has a saltbox profile and intersects a flank-gable roof, the latter elaborated with the building's primary motif, a very large dormer with a half-round pediment, decorated with an equally grand, carved scallop shell. This detail was probably inspired by the famed carved shells found on Newport's finest eighteenth-century panelling and furniture. Rear Admiral Schroder retired in 1912 after commanding the North Atlantic Fleet (1901-11). A 2100-ton World War II destroyer (DD-501) was named in his honor.|
|**144 OW||TUNSTALL SMITH HOUSE (1889): A large, 2-1/2-story, shingled residence, set well back from the road, with a central pediment. It was built as a summer residence.|
|**158 OW||THE "B" COTTAGE (1887): A large, "T" plan, 2-1/2-story, shingled residence, with a central shed-roof dormer and a hip-roofed porch across the front. It was built in 1887 on Lincoln Street and moved here in 1909. In the early twentieth century it was known as the "B" Cottage when it was a summer rental belonging to Louisa Q. Davis. The 1912 tax book lists it as "Brown Cottage."|
|**170 OW||ELIZABETH CLARK HOUSE (1895-96): A large, unpretentious, shingled, summer house of 2-1/2 stories, with a gable-on-hip roof and an encircling porch. Miss Clark was personal secretary to Alexander Agassiz, the famed naturalist, geologist, and oceanographer. His home was at Castle Hill, Newport.|
|**185 OW||ADMIRAL THOMAS SELFRIDGE COTTAGE / RED TOP / GREEN CHIMNEYS (1889): The flanked gable of this handsome, shingled cottage terminated in a saltbox configuration on the south and as a gable-on-hip on the north end, the hip-roofed portion sheltering an open 2-story porch. On the entrance front is a very large double window lighting the staircase. This and other details suggest C.L. Bevins may have been the architect. Admiral T.O. Selfridge, Jr., who summered here, was stationed in Japan in 1888. It is said that on his return he sought a house design which recalled the dwellings of Japan. The grounds are beautifully landscaped. A pre-World War II naval destroyer (DD-357) was named for Admiral Selfridge and his son, also an admiral.|
|**215 OW||THOMAS C. POTTER HOUSE (c. 1897): An imposing, hip-roofed, 2-1/2-story, shingle-clad. Colonial Revival, summer house.|
|**253 OW||SALLY B. RICE COTTAGE/ROCKBURN (1889): A large 2-1/2-story, shingled residence. It was called Rockburn in 1908.|
|16||HARRIET HOLCOMBE COTTAGE (1929-30): A 1-1/2 story, shingled, Dutch Colonial dwelling, set end to the road, with typical gambrel roof, shed dormers, and a central porticoed entrance.|
|**71 WH||WEEDEN-NEALE FARM (17th century et seq): This small farm on the south side of Weeden Lane forms the southeastern part of the Windmill Hill Historic District. It was the 45-acre homestead farm of John Weeden, who built a house here in the late seventeenth century. His son added 20 acres to the farm in 1725 and it stayed that size for 240 years. Over the years, members of the Weeden family acquired larger farms at the north end of the island, but the homestead farm stayed in the family the longest. It was finally sold in 1924. The farmhouse was torn down and replaced by the Easton cottage, which was moved to the site from Mount Hope Avenue. A nineteenth-century barn stands near the road. In 1964 owner Clarkson Potter gave the Rhode Island Audubon Society a 21-acre strip of the farm bordering the Conanicut Marsh Meadow.|
|6||CONANICUT GRANGE, PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY #21 (1926): A plain, 1-1/2-story, shingled structure resting on a full basement with a concrete foundation. Its street-facing gable end contains a central double-door entry in a 3-bay facade. The building was framed by Granger Peter Blackwell; then members of the Grange, working under the supervision of carpenters, completed the structure, working Saturday afternoons until dark, with supper served by Grange's ladies at the town hall.|
|16||JAMES D. HULL COTTAGE (c. 1882): A 1-1/2-story structure with a steeply-pitched gable roof, a shed-roofed piazza across the front, and small lateral cross gables. Sited east of the town hall parking lot, the cottage houses town offices.|
|WEST REACH ESTATES|
|WEST REACH ESTATES (1977-78 et seq.): West Reach Estates is a 165-acre parcel divided into 56 lots, including 12 along the West Passage of Narragansett Bay; the smallest is about 80,000 square feet, while most are two full acres. Landscaping includes curved roadways and two ponds with surrounding park-like grounds. The land that now comprises both the East Passage and the West Reach Estates, more than 700 acres in extent, was acquired by the Commerce Oil Company in 1956 for a proposed oil refinery. After plans for the refinery fell through, the land remained idle for about 18 more years. In 1976, the East Passage lots were platted, and the first section opened. West Reach Estates started selling houses, built in a variety of traditional and contemporary styles, in 1982.|
|14||MRS. GEORGE W. LOGAN COTTAGE / SOUTHWINDS (1917): A 2-1/2-story, shingled residence, with a shed-roofed dormer, a 1-story bay window, and a 1-story, flat-roofed porch across the front. The house is the "Alladin" model sold through Sears Roebuck catalogs and constructed with pre-cut lumber. It is one of several houses on the island purchased through a Sears Roebuck catalog.|
|20||SPENCER S. WOOD COTTAGE / WESTWOOD (1917): A 2-story, shingled residence, with interior and exterior fieldstone chimneys, shed dormers, a broad cornice overhang, and an ell at the right (north) side ending in a 3-bay garage. Plans for the house came from Gustav Stickley's influential Arts and Crafts magazine The Craftsman, but the only decorative detailing is stickwork confined to the gable peaks. Built by U.S. Navy Captain (later Rear Admiral) Spencer Wood, it was inherited by Mrs. Joseph C. Harsch, who moved a barn here from Narragansett Avenue to serve as a garage and storage shed.|
|**29 SH||CYNTHIA KAISER HOUSE (1916-17): This fine, shingled residence in upper Shoreby features a sweeping roof that forms a long porch across the front (the right side was recently enclosed), and a trio of hip-roofed dormers.|
|**65 SH||ANNE S. HUBBARD HOUSE (1917-18): This academic Shingle Style house is noteworthy for its good proportions.|
|WINDMILL HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT|
|*||The Windmill Hill Historic District, entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, is a large, irregularly-shaped tract of land, encompassing about 772 acres, near the central part of the main section of Conanicut Island. At its longest dimension, from Eldred Avenue on the north to Great Creek on the south, it measures one and a third miles. Its east-west distance, from East Shore Road on the east to the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to the west, is about one and a quarter miles. From its western and southern boundaries, the bay and marshy Great Creek, the land rises gradually to about eighty feet at the summit of Windmill Hill and to more than one hundred feet at Cedar Hill Farm. Between these hills is low-lying, swamp-fringed Jamestown Brook. Most of the district is open farmland, bounded and divided by stone walls and containing small woodlots. Significant features of the district are six farm complexes, an eighteenth-century Quaker meeting house, a windmill, a miller's house, and an old burial ground. In the Great Creek area is a Native American archaeological site.
The precise dating of the creation of the Windmill Hill farms cannot be determined, but it is likely that the land was cleared and sheep grazed on most of the island in the late seventeenth century, when Conanicut was an agricultural adjunct of Newport. By the end of the first decades of the eighteenth century, ferries had been established at the ends of Old Eldred and Narragansett Avenues. Since old Eldred Avenue (Route 138) defines part of the district's northern boundary and Narragansett Avenue lies a short distance to the south, early settlers of this district were afforded relatively easy access to Newport markets and to the Rhode Island mainland (and the South County) to the west.
Many of Conanicut's early settlers were Quakers from Newport, who made this area their center of activities. In 1709-10 a Quaker meeting house was built on Eldred Avenue, at the Old Friends Burial Ground, which was established about the same time.
Historical accounts of the town suggest that several farmhouses were erected within the district at an early date. The Weeden farmhouse, on Weeden Lane, reportedly built in the seventeenth century, remained a family homestead until 1924. A house on the adjacent Carr farm is said to have been built for Governor Caleb Carr's son Nicholas in the late 1600s. Governor Carr's grandson Thomas Carr built a house early in the eighteenth century at Cedar Hill Farm. The house of Thomas's son Benjamin, west of Cedar Hill, is said to have been built before 1760. Two late seventeenth-century houses, built on the west side of North Main Road and occupied by tenant farmers, seem to have been demolished late in the eighteenth century. The only pre-Revolutionary War building left in the Windmill Hill Historic District is Benjamin Carr's house.
Agricultural Windmill Hill prospered during the eighteenth century. As in South County across the bay, slaves were used on some Conanicut Island farms to help produce animals and animal products for export; they were shipped from Newport and other nearby coastal ports. However, the declaration of war by the colonies against their mother country put an abrupt end to the region's prosperity. British troops made a destructive raid on Conanicut in December, 1775, and occupied the island a year later.
The British occupation, which lasted until 1779, had a profound effect on the people of the island. Many lost heart and took refuge on the mainland. In the Windmill Hill area, families seem to have stayed on. There were so few Friends left on the island that meetings were abandoned. British soldiers occupied the meeting house and damaged it beyond repair. The nearby windmill was destroyed. The Wanton and Hutchinson farms, both owned by Tories, were confiscated when their owners left the country. The two farms were sold for the benefit of Rhode Island's continental soldiers. Job Watson bought both farms and reassembled the Hutchinson farm, which had been divided into four parcels for sale.
Post-Revolutionary War recovery was manifested in the construction of a new Friends Meeting House in 1786 to replace the old building that had been moved to the top of Windmill Hill in 1734, and in the construction of a windmill and a miller's house on part of the land confiscated from Tory Joseph Wanton. Two farmhouses were erected on Job Watson's land around the turn of the eighteenth century. Robert H. Watson built his house in 1796; Borden Watson put his up around 1802.
The Windmill Hill families continued to farm in the nineteenth century, handling the old farms down to new generations of Weedens and Watsons, Hazards and Carrs. Some of the farm owners entered the world of business. George C. Carr, Thomas Carr Watson, and his brother John J. Watson all went into real estate. They bought and sold property in all parts of the island, but they kept their family farms. George Carr continued living on his farm, in a fine new house. The Watson brothers moved to town. In the next generation, George C. Carr's son devoted himself to farming; John J. Watson, Jr., and Thomas Carr Watson, Jr., made substantial fortunes in New York City, but they continued to maintain their fathers' old farms. John Foster Carr, long a resident of New York, restored the old Nicholas Carr farmhouse for a summer residence. Sadly, it burned down within a few years. The Weedens and the Hazards continued farming and kept their family houses and land intact as long as possible. The Windmill Hill families, neighbors for many generations, had in common a deep attachment to the remarkable landscape, a feeling which helped to preserve their adjoining farms well into the twentieth century.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while profound changes were sweeping other parts of the island, the Windmill Hill area remained virtually unchanged. Today the district is significant for its well-preserved early houses, meeting house, windmill, old cemetery, and its unspoiled rural landscape, one of the finest in Rhode Island.
Bay View Drive Historic District and Shoreby Hill
Dutch Island and Conanicut Park Historic District
Jamestown Village & Southern Jamestown
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