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Weeden Farm (Willow Dell; Colonel Jeremiah Bowen House)

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Willow Dell; Colonel Jeremiah Bowen House
1753, 1871 and later. 2700 Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry Memorial Hwy. (U.S. 1)

The Weeden farmhouse is another one-and-one-half-story, five-bay farmhouse, with an exceptional spread to the roof which is enhanced by a slight flared curvature of the roof above the eaves. The roof sits tightly on a rather large transomed door with pairs of smallish vertical windows to either side, which gives the elevation its particular character. The three dormers, possibly together with the two-story ell, were probably added later when it was used as a summer house. Originally the land belonged to John Hull of Boston, one of the Pettaquamscutt Purchasers, as part of a 600-acre farm stretching to the shore. Colonel Bowen built this house for his daughter, but it is generally known for Wager Weeden, who purchased it in 1826, and his descendants, who occupied it into the twentieth century. Although his grandson William inherited the house, Weeden's only daughter, Elvira, continued to live here for sixty-two years; it was she who named the place Willow Dell. They fronted the drive with stone piers inscribed with the new name. To the left of this entrance, they added an animal drinking trough (1876), which combines the bluntness and elegance appropriate to its double function as a practical device and as a memorial. It is a tall, conical-shaped boulder with a hollowed stone trough at its foot, the top left as is, the bottom third carved as a smooth, inset surface, but with a cresting which rises in simple straights and curves to a climax around the circular water spill. Inscribed on this surface is “To Wager Weeden who lived on this farm from 1826 to 1863 and brought this water here. Matunuck, 1876.” Around the same time William added the large ell to the house. So the farm took on the trappings of an estate—a frequent metamorphosis during the late nineteenth century along the Post Road.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Weeden Farm (Willow Dell; Colonel Jeremiah Bowen House)", [South Kingstown, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-SK48.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 395-396.

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