2012-09-06 / News

Jamestown Historical Society News

BY ROSEMARY ENRIGHT

Next weekend – Sept. 14 and 15 – is the Jamestown Historical Society’s big house tour weekend.

Preview Party

Clarke and Betsy Moody are hosting a members-only house tour preview party on Friday, Sept. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at their recently renovated home at 9 Conanicus Ave. The house was designed by Mantel Fielding of Philadelphia and built by F.A. Allan of Newport in 1901 as the Quononoquot Club. The club, like the casino built on Shoreby Hill two years earlier, gave the summer cottagers in the neighborhood a place to meet and dine.

Dr. H.J. Rhett of New Orleans – one of the founders of the Quononoquot Club – bought the building in 1905. It was still a neighborhood gathering place until 1908 when Dr. Rhett decided to use it as his summer home. The house, originally built at the rear of the lot, was moved closer to Conanicus Avenue in 1931.


The Moody’s home on Conanicus Avenue was built as the Quononoquot Club in 1901. The Moody’s home on Conanicus Avenue was built as the Quononoquot Club in 1901. The Moodys have restored much of the early 20th century “feel” of the building. With its past as a center for entertaining, the historic clubhouse is the ideal setting for the JHS members-only party.

Are you a JHS member? Make a reservation for the party by sending an email with your name, telephone number, and number in your party to info@jamestownhistoricalsociety.org, or call the museum at 401-423-0784. Leave a message if nobody answers your call. We’re not there all the time. The party is $40 per person and includes a $20 ticket to the next day’s house tour. Please RSVP by Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Not a JHS member? Make a reservation for the party and join the society. Pay your dues at the door when you pay for your tickets. Dues are $25 for an individual and $40 for a family.

House tour

On Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members and nonmembers alike may tour two summer cottages from Jamestown’s resort era. Both of them have been winterized and are now year-round residences. Tickets may be purchased for $20 at either house on the day of the tour.

The Jennie Lippitt Cottage – now called Stonewall Cottage – at 1026 East Shore Road was built in 1873 in Jamestown’s first summer development, Conanicut Park. The 2 1/2-story square tower with mansard roof and the flat-roofed piazza that wraps around the house make it stand out among the other nearby Conanicut Park cottages, which are smaller, gabled buildings with elaborate Victorian decoration.

Mike and Terry Lanza, who bought the house in 2003, were determined to keep as much of the original building as possible while adapting it to modern living. They moved the house about 75 feet back from East Shore Road and built a wing on the north with a garage and a large playroom above it. They rearranged the interior, removing walls to make the existing rooms more spacious and adding bathrooms. They recycled many of the removed elements. The result is a bright, open modern interior with 135-year-old accents and a restored 1870s exterior with some of the Victorian exuberance of the original cottage retained.

The Corbit Lovering cottage at 75 Ocean Ave., original called End of Ocean Avenue, was built in 1912. The cottage was designed by J. D. Johnston, the Newport architect who also designed Clingstone and several other early 20th century houses in Jamestown. It was built by Thomas D. Wright, a general contractor in Jamestown from the 1880s to the 1930s. Wright’s grandson, H. Clifford Wright Jr., winterized and modernized it for Elwood and Barbara Leonard in 1966.

Included in the Lovering house tour is a tiny dollhouse, west of the garage, with pine floors that match the pine floors in the larger house. The ceiling is high enough for an adult to stand up right, but the potbelly stove and the room itself are designed for a small child.

National Museum Day

Saturday, Sept. 29, is the eight annual Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day. On this day, participating museums across the country open their doors for free to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Twenty-five museums across Rhode Island – including the JHS museum, meetinghouse, windmill and Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, and several museums in Newport and North Kingstown – are participating. All the sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The JHS museum and windmill will stay open until 4 p.m., our usual closing time.

To find out about other nearby museums and to get a ticket, go to Smithsonian Magazine’s website. Tickets are needed to get into museums that would normally charge admission, which the JHS sites do not.

Museum and windmill hours

Starting this week, the Jamestown Museum will be open only on weekends – Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 1 to 4 p.m. The windmill is open for visitors the same hours. The last day to visit either of the sites is Columbus Day, Oct 8.

We’re happy to open the windmill to visitors by appointment, but the exhibit in the museum – “1912 and the JHS Centennial” – will be dismantled in mid-October.

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