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Joseph Peace Hazard House (Hazard's Castle, Seaside Farm)

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Hazard's Castle, Seaside Farm
1846–1849, 1882–1884. 6343 Ocean Rd. (now a retreat house maintained by the Roman Catholic diocese of Providence)
  • Joseph Peace Hazard House (Hazard's Castle, Seaside Farm) (John M. Miller)

An eccentric of a type more British than American, Joseph Peace Hazard was the odd man out of his generation in the powerful Hazard family (see Peace Dale under South Kingstown). Large as it was, Seaside Farm was a small piece of his massive holdings along the cliff. He was a principal force in developing Ocean Road and the grand oceanfront properties between it and the sea, with the proviso that the area never go into commercial use. But aside from farming, his personal passion was mystical metaphysics, in contrast to the interests of his intellectual brother in Peace Dale, Rowland Gibson Hazard, whose more worldly speculation inclined him toward economics and social theory. The house he built of random masonry is a sprawling, nominally Neo-Gothic mansion of gables, bays, and tower organized with an eye for picturesque silhouette, sober and weighty rather than ostentatious and restless. The culmination of his building pursuits occurred only in 1887, however, when he added a massive square, 105-foot-high stone tower with battered walls rising to a crenellated cap—this to bring him closer to the spirit world. (An isolated cottage at 100 Gibson Avenue known as Druidsdream is the other architectural result of Hazard's cosmic speculations. Druids appeared to him in a dream and commanded him to build a stone house where it still stands on what was once part of his farm.)

Magnificent specimen planting completes the mood, making this among the outstanding examples of mid-nineteenth-century romantic vision in the state. Not even the addition of brick dormitory blocks (in the tawny yellow which Catholic institutions seem to favor) dispels the effect. (Visitors should, however, be respectful of the purpose of the place.)

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Joseph Peace Hazard House (Hazard's Castle, Seaside Farm)", [Narragansett, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 372-373.

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