Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Museums ~ Hearthside House, Lincoln

 Hearthside House
757 Great Rd.
Lincoln, Rhode Island

Hearthside House is a beautiful old home in Lincoln with an interesting and sad story.

Hearthside exterior

From Hearthside's website: "...in the early 1800’s, Stephen Hopkins Smith, a fellow in his 20’s, began to court a young lady from a “prominent Providence family”...She was a little cautious about their future together though and told him that while he was an attractive man, she was looking for a gentleman suitor “of substantial wealth who could provide a lifestyle she was used to”. The Smith family was far from wealthy. But one day, in answer to his prayers, Smith won a lottery, netting him a jackpot of $40,000----an equivalent of $8.6 million by today’s standards.

"Smith kept his winnings a secret, and schemed to build a breathtaking home to sweep “Miss Prominent” off her feet. Construction on Hearthside got underway in 1810 and was completed in 1814. Meanwhile the courtship continued. When the house was done, Smith took a horse and buggy and went to Providence and asked the girl to come with him for a ride. As they approached the bend of Great Road, the girl clapped her hands and said, “What a beautiful house, but who would ever want to live way out in the wilderness.” Smith was heartbroken. He drove her back to Providence and never called on her again. In fact, he never married."

Smith never lived in the house, but his brother did. It passed through twelve families and was occupied until 1996, when it was sold to the Town of Lincoln. The Mowbray family, who gave the house to the Town, still visit on occasion, and many decorative items in the house come from the family.

music room    
music room

Office
office

bedroom
upstairs bedroom
Kitchen
kitchen


bedroom
other bedroom

The house is beautiful, and very big for its time. It's been added to and modernized over the years. One of the things I found most interesting was the accidental discovery of a baking oven in the dining room - which was originally the kitchen - that had been walled over at some point.

Dining room
here it is in context

dining room fireplace excavation
and here in detail

Bear adored the house and signed up to volunteer there this summer. We're looking forward to one of the candlelight tours at Christmas, when every room is decorated with a tree.

4 comments:

  1. That is a sad story. Apparently, shallow women aren't only on the Real Housewives shows.

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  2. I am a docent at this lovely house. It has become my passion to do all I can to protect and keep this historic house restored. Come visit often.
    Lady Estelle

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  3. Thanks for visiting, Lady Estelle. My daughter and I loved coming to the museum and are looking forward to lots more visits!

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