List of the oldest buildings in Rhode Island

This article attempts to list the oldest buildings in the state of Rhode Island in the United States of America, including the oldest houses in Rhode Island and any other surviving structures. Some dates are approximate and based on architectural studies and historical records, other dates are based on dendrochronology All entries should include citation with reference to: architectural features; a report by an architectural historian; or dendrochronology

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Very few Rhode Island buildings have been tested yet using dendrochronology (less than a dozen houses as of 2019),[1] and most buildings outside of Aquidneck Island were burned in King Philip's War in the 1670s. The oldest building in Rhode Island tested using dendrochronology was the Clemence-Irons House (1691) in Johnston, although the Lucas–Johnston House in Newport holds some timbers which were felled prior to 1650, but likely reused from an earlier building.[2]

ListEdit

Building Image Location First Built Notes
Governor Peleg Sanford House   Newport 41°29′27″N 71°18′47″W / 41.49077°N 71.31315°W / 41.49077; -71.31315 c. 1640s–1701
  • One of the oldest buildings in Newport
  • Constructed before the death of Gov. Sanford in 1701[3]
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
White Horse Tavern   Newport 41°29′30″N 71°18′51″W / 41.491667°N 71.314167°W / 41.491667; -71.314167 1652; 1673
  • Oldest tavern in America, originally built in 1652 as a residence and expanded into a tavern in 1673, likely including parts of the original structure[4]
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Stephen Northup House   North Kingstown 41°33′05″N 71°26′52″W / 41.551389°N 71.447778°W / 41.551389; -71.447778 c. 1660–1661 (possibly rebuilt in 1670s)
  • Possibly burned during King Philip's War in the 1670s and rebuilt, later modifications 1712, 1850, 2004
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Newport Tower   Newport 41°29′09″N 71°18′36″W / 41.4858°N 71.3099°W / 41.4858; -71.3099 c. 1670
  • Purported to be a Viking structure;[5] likely the remains of a colonial windmill[6]
  • No roof or floors since the mid-18th century
  • Radiocarbon dating tests of the tower's mortar suggest a probable date of production of the mortar between 1635 and 1698.[7]
Philip Sherman House   Portsmouth 41°35′00″N 71°14′45″W / 41.58340°N 71.24577°W / 41.58340; -71.24577 c. 1670
  • House of Philip Sherman, one of the founders of Portsmouth, RI
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Thomas Fenner House   Cranston 41°47′27″N 71°29′19″W / 41.790833°N 71.488611°W / 41.790833; -71.488611 1677
  • Early stone ender
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Edward Searle House   Cranston 41°44′54″N 71°28′56″W / 41.748333°N 71.482222°W / 41.748333; -71.482222 1670–1720
  • Early stone ender
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Capt. John Mawdsley House   Newport 41°29′03″N 71°18′44″W / 41.484167°N 71.312222°W / 41.484167; -71.312222 c. 1677–1680
Smith's Castle   Wickford 41°35′00″N 71°27′16″W / 41.583333°N 71.454444°W / 41.583333; -71.454444 1678
Clement Weaver House   East Greenwich 41°39′32″N 71°28′37″W / 41.658889°N 71.476944°W / 41.658889; -71.476944 1679
  • Early stone ender
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
John Bliss House   Newport 41°29′59″N 71°18′07″W / 41.49974°N 71.30204°W / 41.49974; -71.30204 c. 1680
  • Early stone ender
Nathaniel Bosworth House Bristol 41°40′43″N 71°16′42″W / 41.678509°N 71.278333°W / 41.678509; -71.278333 c. 1683
  • Oldest house in Bristol[8]
Forge Farm   Warwick 41°38′19″N 71°27′06″W / 41.638611°N 71.451667°W / 41.638611; -71.451667 1684
  • Oldest portion of the structure dates to 1684
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Daggett House   Pawtucket 41°53′19″N 71°20′39″W / 41.888667°N 71.344056°W / 41.888667; -71.344056 1685
  • Oldest house in Pawtucket
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Gorton-Greene House   Warwick 41°39′55″N 71°27′35″W / 41.665179°N 71.45967°W / 41.665179; -71.45967 1685
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Palmer-Northrup House   North Kingstown 41°34′37″N 71°27′40″W / 41.576944°N 71.461111°W / 41.576944; -71.461111 c. 1685
  • Early stone ender
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Hopelands   Warwick 41°39′29″N 71°25′17″W / 41.65798°N 71.42135°W / 41.65798; -71.42135 c. 1686
  • Western ell of building dates to 1686, though not yet tested using dendrochronology
  • Now part of Rocky Hill School
Peleg Arnold Tavern   North Smithfield 41°59′21″N 71°32′02″W / 41.98916°N 71.53388°W / 41.98916; -71.53388 c. 1690
Wilbor House   Little Compton 41°29′43″N 71°11′11″W / 41.495278°N 71.186389°W / 41.495278; -71.186389 1690
  • Oldest house in Little Compton
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Clemence–Irons House   Johnston 41°50′21″N 71°29′04″W / 41.839167°N 71.484444°W / 41.839167; -71.484444 1691
  • Primitive stone ender
  • Oldest house in Rhode Island to be dated using dendrochronology (2005)[9]
Samuel Clarke House   Kenyon 41°27′38″N 71°37′29″W / 41.46065°N 71.624775°W / 41.46065; -71.624775 1691
  • Retains original exterior wide oak weatherboards – on the north side, early 18th-century window sash and frames, a granite central chimney with four fireplaces and original period interior architectural detail
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Eleazer Arnold House   Lincoln 41°54′10″N 71°25′14″W / 41.902778°N 71.420556°W / 41.902778; -71.420556 c. 1693
Valentine Whitman House   Lincoln 41°55′55″N 71°27′24″W / 41.931843°N 71.456664°W / 41.931843; -71.456664 1694
  • Early stone ender
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Smith-Appleby House   Smithfield 41°54′07″N 71°31′06″W / 41.901944°N 71.518333°W / 41.901944; -71.518333 1696
  • House Museum
  • Not yet tested using dendrochronology
Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House   Newport 41°29′27″N 71°18′45″W / 41.49084°N 71.31261°W / 41.49084; -71.31261 1697
  • One of the oldest houses in Newport
  • Currently a museum
  • Dated using dendrochronology in 2005.[11]
Joseph Reynolds House   Bristol 41°41′00″N 71°16′43″W / 41.683451°N 71.278543°W / 41.683451; -71.278543 c. 1698–1700
Great Friends Meeting House   Newport 41°29′31″N 71°18′47″W / 41.492008°N 71.31305°W / 41.492008; -71.31305 1699
  • Quaker Meeting House
  • Oldest surviving church building in Rhode Island
  • Dated in 2005 to 1699 using dendrochronology[12]
Portsmouth Friends Meetinghouse   Portsmouth 41°35′28″N 71°15′16″W / 41.591111°N 71.254444°W / 41.591111; -71.254444 1699–1700
  • Quaker Meeting House and original site of Moses Brown School
  • Likely the oldest church building in RI used continuously as a church.
Samuel E. Perry House   South Kingstown 41°22′59″N 71°34′14″W / 41.38298°N 71.57067°W / 41.38298; -71.57067 1696–1716. Foundation purportedly dates from 1661.
  • Private home located on Matunuck Schoolhouse Rd[13]
Nathaniel Daggett House   East Providence 41°50′16″N 71°21′46″W / 41.837778°N 71.362778°W / 41.837778; -71.362778 c. 1700
  • Likely the oldest house in East Providence
Perry-Carpenter Grist Mill   South Kingstown 41°50′16″N 71°21′46″W / 41.837778°N 71.362778°W / 41.837778; -71.362778 1703
Six Principle Baptist Church   North Kingstown 41°35′34″N 71°29′29″W / 41.592778°N 71.491389°W / 41.592778; -71.491389 1703
  • Oldest Baptist church building in RI
  • Possibly the oldest Baptist church building in the U.S.
Saylesville Meetinghouse   Lincoln 41°54′02″N 71°25′06″W / 41.900556°N 71.418333°W / 41.900556; -71.418333 1704
  • Possibly the oldest church building in Providence County, RI
Old Narragansett Church   Wickford 41°34′21″N 71°26′59″W / 41.5725°N 71.449722°W / 41.5725; -71.449722 1707
Governor Stephen Hopkins House   Providence 41°49′18″N 71°24′12″W / 41.821667°N 71.403333°W / 41.821667; -71.403333 1708, 1742
  • Oldest extant home in Providence
Dr. Charles Cotton House   Newport 41°29′18″N 71°18′53″W / 41.488333°N 71.314722°W / 41.488333; -71.314722 c. 1720
  • Dr. Charles Cotton, a great-grandson of Josiah Cotton and surgeon aboard the USS Constitution, owned the house in the early 19th century
Peter Greene House   Warwick 41°42′55″N 71°22′34″W / 41.715278°N 71.376111°W / 41.715278; -71.376111 c. 1720–1750
Henry Palmer House   South Kingstown 1721
  • Private home in East Matunuck
  • Located on Old Succotash Rd[13]
Carr-LeValley House West Warwick 41°43′00″N 71°31′58″W / 41.71673°N 71.53283°W / 41.71673; -71.53283 1722
  • Possibly the oldest building in West Warwick, RI
Phillip Walker House   East Providence 41°49′49″N 71°21′50″W / 41.830278°N 71.363889°W / 41.830278; -71.363889 1724
Trinity Episcopal Church   Newport 41°29′15″N 71°18′50″W / 41.4875°N 71.313889°W / 41.4875; -71.313889 1726
Antram-Gray House   Providence 41°49′53″N 71°24′39″W / 41.83132°N 71.41071°W / 41.83132; -71.41071 1736
Captain John Warren House Newport 41°29′35″N 71°19′16″W / 41.49319°N 71.32108°W / 41.49319; -71.32108 1737
  • French Navy Artillery Headquarters 1780–1781[16]
Gilbert Stuart Birthplace   Saunderstown 41°31′13″N 71°26′41″W / 41.52017°N 71.44469°W / 41.52017; -71.44469 1750
  • Birthplace of Gilbert Stuart, one of 18th-century America's most noted portrait artists
  • National Historic Landmark
Willow Dell (Weeden Farm House)   South Kingstown 41°23′48″N 71°33′04″W / 41.39660°N 71.55115°W / 41.39660; -71.55115 1753
  • Located in Matunuck[13]
Rocky Meadows Farm House   South Kingstown 1754
  • Rumored to have been a tavern
  • Private home located on Old Post Road (Route 1)[13]
  • The farm land is now protected by the South Kingstown Land Trust.[17]
Henry Marchant House   South Kingstown 41°28′49″N 71°35′47″W / 41.48039°N 71.59650°W / 41.48039; -71.59650 pre 1760
Touro Synagogue Newport 41°29′22″N 71°18′43″W / 41.489444°N 71.311944°W / 41.489444; -71.311944 1759–1763
University Hall   Providence 41°49′34″N 71°24′14″W / 41.826111°N 71.403889°W / 41.826111; -71.403889 1770
Prudence Island Light   Portsmouth
(Prudence Island)
41°36′21″N 71°18′13″W / 41.605861°N 71.303528°W / 41.605861; -71.303528 1824
  • Oldest lighthouse tower in Rhode Island
  • Moved from original location on Goat Island in Newport to Prudence Island at a later date
Poplar Point Light   North Kingstown 41°34′15″N 71°26′23″W / 41.570833°N 71.439722°W / 41.570833; -71.439722 1832
  • Oldest wooden lighthouse tower still standing in the United States

Destroyed early Rhode Island buildingsEdit

Building Image Location First Built Destroyed Notes
Henry Bull House   Newport c. 1639 1912
  • Destroyed by fire on December 29, 1912
  • Allegedly the oldest house in Rhode Island until its destruction
William Coddington House   Newport 1640–1641 1835
  • Razed 1835
Roger Mowry Tavern   Providence c. 1653 1900
  • Restored and documented by Norman Isham in the late 19th century
  • Oldest house in Providence until its demolition in 1900
John Smith House   Warwick Before 1663 1779

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Rhode Island".
  2. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Augustus Lucas House - Rhode Island".
  3. ^ "The Colony House - Newport - RI - US".
  4. ^ Architecture and Town Planning in Colonial North America – Page 1036, by James D. Kornwolf, Georgiana Wallis Kornwolf (2002)
  5. ^ , but there is no archaeological or documentary evidence for this, but the theory has persisted since the early 19th century
  6. ^ William F. McNeil, Visitors to Ancient America (McFarland: 2004), 78.
  7. ^ "The History and Mystery of the Old Stone Mill". The Journal of the Newport Historical Society. 68 (2). 1997.
  8. ^ Simpson, Richard V. (2005). Bristol. Arcadia Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-7385-3921-8.
  9. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Clemence-Irons House - Rhode Island".
  10. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Eleazer Arnold House - Rhode Island".
  11. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Wanton-Lyman Hazard House, Rhode Island".
  12. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Newport Friends Meetinghouse - Rhode Island".
  13. ^ a b c d e f Historic and Architectural Resources of South Kingstown, Rhode Island: A Preliminary Report (PDF). 150 Benefit St Providence, RI 02903: Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission. 1984. pp. 21, 23, 103, 109, 133, 141, 146.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  14. ^ "Grist Mill Repairs complete thanks to Foundation & Individual Grants". sklt.org. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  15. ^ "Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Walker House - Rhode Island".
  16. ^ "Captain John Warren House". Colonial America. Northeast Communications, LLC. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  17. ^ "South Kingstown Land Trust".
  18. ^ Bicknell, Thomas Williams (1920). The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Vol. 3. New York: The American Historical Society. pp. 1014–1025. OCLC 1953313.

External linksEdit