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William and Thomas Durfee Farm

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1690s, 1768 and later. 2794 Main Rd. (pole 462)
  • William and Thomas Durfee Farm (John M. Miller)

Sited well above the road, this farm complex vividly recalls Tiverton's mostly vanished agricultural heritage—as well it should, with a history of cultivation that extends over nearly three centuries. William Durfee, who also engaged in shipping out of Newport, established the farm in the late 1690s, and some of the stone walls, stone outbuildings (possibly for slave quarters), and gardens may date to the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century. In 1768, his son Thomas demolished his birthplace and erected the present central-chimney farmhouse on its foundations. Its transomed entrance, probably an early-nineteenth-century addition, contains Neo-Gothic tracery, all simply capped by a bracketed entablature. The compelling image of this farm and its outbuildings cluster has long been appreciated: Pencil Points (1920) published the house, and the Garden Club of America's Gardens of Colony and State (1931) includes its gardens.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "William and Thomas Durfee Farm", [Tiverton, 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, 484-484.

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