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Elisha F. Watson Estate

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Late 19th century. 534 Post Rd.

A large tract of land running from Post Road down to the shore of Point Judith Pond was originally the 211-acre estate of the Reverend Elisha F. Watson, who acquired it by marriage. Of the estates which once lined the Post Road south of Wakefield, this provides the best sense of the quality of the grand late-nineteenth-century South County country estate, partly because its beautiful stretches of meadow landscape with distant glints of water are intact, and partly because enough is visible from the highway to give at least an impression of the estate. After a period in the ministry, the Reverend Watson retired to what he called Matunuck Brook Farm. There, except for an interruption as an army chaplain during the Civil War, he lived the life of a country squire, serving a few years as superintendent of local schools, championing the cause of temperance, and raising Shetland ponies, which were sold to Newport and Long Island estates. With time, descendants and in-laws dotted the landscape with their own houses, much as did the Hazards in their tighter enclave in Peace Dale. In toto, the family enclave includes at least ten houses of some architectural merit, most of them built between c. 1900 and c. 1965. Elisha Watson's own house (1690–1700; renovation and enlargement, 1921, Norman M. Isham), at 570 Post Road, is a large cross-gambrel-roofed house in wood shingle boasting several field-stone chimneys and a porte-cochere entrance, as much Isham's Colonial Revival work as late seventeenth century.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Elisha F. Watson Estate", [South Kingstown, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-SK52.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 396-397.

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