Sunday, May 9, 2010

Museums ~ Gov. Stephen Hopkins House, Providence

Gov. Stephen Hopkins House
15 Hopkins Street
Providence, Rhode Island

We've seen the Hopkins House on our trips down Benefit Street, several times before, but never saw it open. It was sheer luck to find it open during the RISD Spring Art Sale, and a docent on-site to give us a tour. A three dollar tour.

The house belonged to (obviously) Governor Stephen Hopkins, 10-time governor of Rhode Island, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house had originally been situated near the Providence River, but was moved twice, finally ending up on Hopkins Street.

portrait of Gov. Hopkins with Brown University in background via Wikipedia



photo via Gaspee.org

The house was built in about 1708 and purchased by Hopkins in 1741. He added a two-story addition to the original building.





Keeping room fireplace

This is part of the "Keeping room" or main part of the original building, with cradle and canvas rug.

The first floor of the addition includes a study/living area with Hopkins' desk and a very unique fireplace surround. The docent told us that it is very rare to find such cabinetry work, especially in concert with a fireplace, and gives us an idea of the Hopkins' wealth.

Fireplace surround       Desk

The second floor contains bedrooms, the most notable of which is the one Gen. George Washington slept in during his 1776 visit.

Master Bedroom      Master bedroom

Across the hall is a smaller bedroom, that would have belonged to the Hopkins daughters. Today it contains the family cradle. Both Stephen and his younger brother Esek (who became the first Commander in Chief of the Colonial Navy) slept in that cradle, as did the Hopkins children. Stephen and his first wife, Sarah Scott, had seven. I wonder how many babies slept in that cradle before it ended up in the museum.

Gov. Hopkins cradle

Other bedrooms are used now for display and storage, so that ended the tour of the house. Outside, though, the pretty terraced garden was available for a stroll.

Gov. Stephen Hopkins house garden      Gov. Stephen Hopkins House garden

Gov. Hopkins House is a nice historic museum, worth the visit. The tour itself is only about 20 minutes, although you could spend longer in the gardens.


Amazon has a biography of Gov. Hopkins here: Stephen Hopkins: A Rhode Island Statesman

Check out other reviews of the Hopkins house at UpTake.

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