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October 19, 2018

Built Before 1765: Oldest Buildings in Newport, RI


Neptune Thurston Home (1734)

Neptune Thurston lived at this home now located at 41 Walnut Street. Thurston was a cooper and barrel maker by trade. The home was originally located on Long Wharf. Newport legend suggests that a young Gilbert Stuart, one of early America’s most famous portrait painters, may have learned the craft of painting images from Neptune.

Swansea House (1731)

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Located at 3 Cozzens Court

The Swansea House is a rural, one-and-a-half-story building with a central chimney and a gable roof. Built c. 1731, it is typical of the Narragansett Basin and has a fair amount of original fabric on the interior, including mantles, moldings, and doors. The house originally stood in Swansea, Massachusetts and was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1977. It was disassembled and put in storage until 1981-82 when NRF re-assembled and restored the house on the Cozzens Court site. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

John Coddington House (1730)

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Located at 2 Marlborough Street

Built c. 1730, the John Coddington House stands on its original site. It is a two-story building with two interior chimneys and a gambrel roof. The house was enlarged and altered in the mid-eighteenth century.

After being purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1971, it was restored in 1973-74 to reflect those later changes rather than restore the original structure as it was in 1730.

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

John Sisson House (1730)

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Located at 21 Green Street

The John Sisson House is a small, one-and-a-half-story building of rural origins with a large center chimney and a gambrel roof. Built c.1730, the house was originally located on Old Mill Lane in Portsmouth, a town on the same island as Newport.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the structure in 1974, disassembled it, and relocated it to the current site on Green Street where it was reconstructed and restored in 1974-75. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Harkness House (1730)

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Located at 38 Green Street

It is believed that the Harkness House, built c. 1730, was originally located on Thames Street near Pelham Street. It is an excellent example of the eighteenth-century, gambrel roof cottage, a style commonly found in Newport and of which there are many examples still standing.

The house has one-and-a-half stories, with two rooms on each floor, and a central chimney. There is a fireplace in each of the first floor rooms, but only one on the second floor. The house was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1983 and restored in 1983-84. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

John Beard House (1730)

Editor’s Note: A readers has told us that their family great up in the “John Beard House” at 31 Willow Street in the Point Section of Newport and that it was built in 1730. Not much public information is available for this property.

Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House (1729)

Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House

The newly restored Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House.

The oldest surviving Baptist church building in America, The Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House boasts a beautifully carved pulpit and interior paneling. The meeting house was constructed in 1730 by Richard Munday on Barney Street, and can now be seen as part of the Newport Historical Society’s building.

The grand reopening of the newly-restored Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House was celebrated the summer of 2009, in conjunction with a rare clothing exhibit, From Homespun to High Fashion.

This restoration project was funded by grants from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, and the Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

Solomon Townsend House (1728)

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Located at 51 Second Street

The Solomon Townsend House is a two-story structure, built on the half house or three-bay plan with a central interior chimney and a gambrel roof. The building is a fine example of the simple, small houses that were built with great frequency on the Point during the eighteenth century.

The house stands on its original site and was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1973 and restored in 1976-77. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Trinity Episcopal Church (1726)

Trinity interior

The Anglican Church came relatively late to Newport; early settlers moved here to get away from the Church of England. By 1698, however, there were enough Anglicans, joined by Huguenots and Quakers, to form Trinity’s first congregation.

The congregation quickly outgrew its 1701 home, and in 1726 built the church in which people worship in today. The box pews helped to keep warmth during the winter before the building was heated – and today provide excellent enclosures for wandering toddlers. Their various shapes and sizes reflect the individuality of the members of the congregation, who paid for their own pews as a way of defraying the cost of the building. The first and second bays at the altar end were added in 1762, as the congregation continued to expand. More Info

Source for info and image: Trinity Church

Pitt’s Head Tavern (1726) 

This building, constructed some time before 1726, originally stood on Queen Street, now Washington Square at the corner of Charles Street. In 1742, Henry Collins, a successful merchant-privateer bought it. Collins helped found Redwood Library, and served on the committee responsible for the building of the Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House. Almost immediately the house was given to Henry Collin’s niece, Mary Ward (daughter of Governor Richard Ward) upon her marriage to Ebenezer Flagg.

In 1765 the Widow Mary Ward Flagg sold the house to Robert Lillibridge who turned the building into a coffeehouse, which became known as the “Pitts Head Tavern.”During the American Revolution the tavern served as recruiting headquarters of the British during their occupation of Newport. In 1877, the Odd Fellows purchased the building and moved it further north on Charles Street. In 1947 the building was purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County for use as offices. The Preservation Society sold the building in 1965 and it was moved to its present location and is now in private hands.

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

The Bird’s Nest (1725 – 1750)

The Bird's Nest cottage Newport RI.jpg

The Bird’s Nest is a historic house at 526 Broadway at the One Mile Corner junction in Newport, Rhode Island, not far from the city line with Middletown. It is a 2-1/2 story wood frame structure, three bays wide and two deep, with a gable roof and a large central chimney.

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

Isaac Dayton House (1725)

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Located at 35 Washington Street

The Issac Dayton House is a small, two-story house with three bays and a gable roof. It was built c.1725 and is on the original site.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1969 and restored it in 1971-72. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Edith Corey House (1725)

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Located at 30 Walnut Street

Built c.1725, the Edith Corey House is a square, hip-roof building constructed with three bays and an interior chimney. To provide more living space for this otherwise small building, an eighteenth-century, two-story structure was added. It is believed that the house was originally located on the corner of Willow and Washington Streets and sometime after 1758 was moved to Walnut Street. This is indicated by The Stiles Map of 1758, which shows the house at its original site at Willow and Washington Streets in that year.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1973 and restored it in 1976-77. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Stacy House (1725)

Stacy House, according to a historical book by Antoinette Dowling, was built in 1725.

Stacy House was 1 Fourth Street until the railway took over Fourth Street, then the house became 1 Willow Street. The railroad tracks run along the front of the house.

A large addition was added sometime in the 1800s. It is now a three family house. More Info

Source for info and image: Stacy House

Simeon Potter House (1723)

Located at 25 Marsh Street

Potter (c.1720-1806), a privateer, participated in the burning of the British revenue ship HMS Gaspee in 1772. Potter’s donation of this house, a store, and garden to the Trustees of Long Wharf in 1795 led to the opening in 1814 of the first free public school in Newport, (for boys only).

The Simeon Potter House now operates as the Captain Simeon Potter House, a bed and breakfast.

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

 Rev. Daniel Wightman House (1721)

Located at 2 Coddington Street

Rev. Daniel Wightman (1668-1750), a carpenter who became a minister later in life, moved to Newport from N. Kingston, RI in the 1690s and built this house. Altered over the years, it now bears little resemblance to how it first appeared.

Wightman was one of the twenty-one persons who broke off from the First Baptist Church in that place, and established the Second in 1656.

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

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