2009-09-03 / Island History

Jamestown Historical Society News

By Rosemary Enright
Make way for the JHS house tour weekend! The JHS will kick off the weekend with a membersonly preview party on Friday, Sept. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mallinckrodt cottage on Shoreby Hill.

On the next day, Saturday, Sept. 19, three other historic Shoreby Hill homes – the Greene farmhouse, the Turnbull-Joline cottage and the Etha Dahlgren Rhett house – will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday preview party

Jamestowners who don’t recognize the Mallinckrodt name or immediately place the address – 41 Emerson Rd. – will still recognize the house. As you look up at the three homes at the top of the Shoreby Hill green, it’s the one on the right.

Edward Mallinckrodt, who was from St. Louis, built his summer home – one of the first houses built in the Lower Shoreby Hill subdivision – in 1898-1899. No one knows who designed this house, the most architecturally ambitious of all the early Shoreby Hill cottages.

If you’re a current member of the JHS, you will soon receive an invitation to the preview party in the mail. If you’re not a member, you can become a member by paying your dues at the door on the day of the party. Either way, we need to know you’re coming, so leave a message on the JHS answering machine at 423-0784 or send an email to jhs@jamestownri. com with name, telephone number or email, and the number of people in your party. Tickets to the preview party are $40 and include entry to the entire Saturday tour.

Saturday tour of

historic homes

The houses on the Sept. 19 tour reflect two very different eras of Jamestown’s history.

The Greene farmhouse at 55 Longfellow Rd. is one of the few colonial structures surviving on the island. It was built mostly in the early 18th century – probably soon after David Greene bought the farmland in 1711. In 1895, the farm, including the old farmhouse, was bought by the Jamestown Land Co. for what was to become a closely managed subdivision modeled on St. Louis’ private and often gated communities.

The other two houses are, like the Mallinckrodt cottage, products of the explosive development of Jamestown as a summer destination following the introduction of the steam ferries in the 1870s.

The Turnbull-Joline house, designed by Charles Bevins – who designed many other well-known Jamestown houses – was constructed on Union Street for the Turnbulls in 1886.

Like at least 70 other houses on Jamestown over the years, the house was later moved from its original foundation to a more desirable site. In 1901, the Joline family moved it to a double lot at 13 Priscilla Rd.

In addition to its architectural interest, the Turnbull-Joline house has historic connections. Evidently, Alice Roosevelt Longworth – President Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter – rented the house for a couple of summers between the world wars.

The Etha Dahlgren Rhett bungalow at 95 Longfellow Rd., the most recently constructed building on the tour, was built in 1914- 15 for the widow of Dr. Henry Jones Rhett, a Philadelphia physician. The house, now shielded from curious eyes behind high, dense hedges, is reminiscent of some early buildings by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White.

House tour tickets are $20 and can be purchased at any of the houses on the day of the tour.

Lawn Avenue School exhibit

In anticipation of the students’ return to Jamestown schools, the JHS just installed a new exhibit in the display case at the Lawn Avenue School library. The display shows photographs of Jamestown’s public buildings from the past and new images of what stands on the sites now.

The award for most changed would have to go to the corner of Southwest Avenue and Clarke Street, where the graceful twostory 1898 Carr schoolhouse has been replaced by the McQuade’s market complex and parking lot. The least changed spot, visually at least, may be the lot on North Road, where the library building is remarkably similar in style to the Thomas H. Clarke School that it replaced. Both are one-story rectangular buildings with hip roofs.

The Jamestown Fire Department Museum lent the JHS models of antique and modern fire apparatus to complement the pictures of the expanded, but still recognizable fire station.

Hey Day

On Sept. 26, the JHS will join other groups on the island to celebrate and advocate for our island farms. Our participation will include the display of some of the farm-related material in our collection – a preview of our anticipated 2010 summer museum exhibit about agriculture in Jamestown.

Conanicut Island was, until the introduction of the steam ferry and the advent of the summer colony it brought, almost exclusively agrarian. The JHS wants to commemorate that part of our history in the coming year.

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