Historic house tour this weekend
The Jamestown Historical Society’s annual historic house tour weekend is Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17. On Friday, a “members only” party will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Beaverhead Farm on the south side of Fort Getty Road. The Saturday house tour – open to all – is across Fort Getty Road at Fox Hill Farm.
The original farmhouse on Fox Hill was built soon after Benedict Arnold, the ancestor of the American Revolutionary War traitor who bears his name, acquired all of Conanicut Island south of Sheffield Cove in 1657. The current house at 994 Fort Getty Road dates from the 1830s or 1840s although it incorporates elements of a house mentioned in the will of Arnold’s grandson Benedict, who died in 1833. While many changes have been made in the past 175 years, the eastern and southern facades of the building remain substantially intact.
The second house on the tour – “The Crickets” at 654 Fort Getty Road – is a Hodgson prefab six-room bungalow built in 1929. E.F. Hodgson Co. offered the first mail-order catalog of prefab portable factorybuilt housing. “The Crickets” was built for John Scheepers, whose brother-in-law, Benjamin Cottrell, owned Fox Hill Farm. Scheepers was an expert horticulturist and was known as the “Tulip King,” both because of his achievement in popularizing the tulip as the symbol of spring and because of his success in developing new varieties of the flower.
The Cottrell burial ground at Fox Hill contains 19th century graves of the Cottrell and Green families; the earliest is that of Coggeshall Green, who died in 1835 “in the 82nd year of his age.”
The houses and the farm, including the cemetery and grounds but excluding the barns which are used for the operation of the farm, will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The entrance fee is $20, payable at the door. Members who attend the $40-per-person preview party receive free tickets to the house tour.