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Mowry House

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1701 and later. 239 John Mowry Rd.

Our tour of Smithfield begins with its oldest extant house. The Mowry family lived in this elongated, two-part house for two centuries. As is typical of early houses, it is sited diagonally to the road so that its front elevation faces south. Three sides now covered with asbestos shingles may originally have been wood shingled, with clapboards reserved for the front. The section closest to the road is the earliest portion of the house: originally probably one room below and one above, each with two windows on the front elevation, the door with its stair in the corner, and an end chimney. To this was early added a four-bay extension with a second door and another chimney at the opposite end of the house. Both doors are simple and elegant: tall and narrow in opening and frame, rising like grandfather clocks to five-light transoms capped with moldings. The earlier door has eight panels, the later four. The White Pine Series recorded them and the ancient well sweep (which no longer exists) in measured drawings.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Mowry House", [Smithfield, 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, 251-251.

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