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Shelter Harbor

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1915–1930, original summer cottages. Off Wagner Rd.

This summer colony enclave sits on a point of land projecting into one of the large saltwater ponds which provide a zone of wetland basins behind the beaches. Beyond a stone entrance gate is the Shelter Harbor Inn, much enlarged from a two-and-one-half-story, five-bay Greek Revival house, and beyond that the beginning of Wagner Road: for Richard Wagner, as it turns out. This community was founded around a group with musical interests. Wagner Road, the spine of a grid, is paralleled by Gounod, Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Caruso, Gershwin, Haydn, and Schubert, crossed by Brahms, Grieg, Handel, Schumann, and Liszt, with Bach at the point. Although more recent houses have been added to the community (which is no longer so exclusively musical), it is in the scattered early, mostly bungalow-derived cottages in shingle or clapboard that the melody lingers on. Some of these have two-story windowed “studio” living areas, which could double as intimate performing spaces.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Shelter Harbor", [Westerly, 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, 403-403.

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