Tour Directions

Take a stroll around Wickford and visit 20 key historical houses and buildings.  If you'd like, you can print the directions and information about each stop before you begin.  Walking Tour
  1. Start at the corner of Brown Street and Phillips Street (Route 1a) - near the Hussey Bridge.
  2. Walk down Brown Street heading north to Main Street. (Stops 1-4)
  3. Note two key buildings at the main intersection in Wickford (Stops 5-6)
  4. Turn right on Main Street and follow this almost to the end. (Stops 7-14)
  5. Make a short detour right onto Bay Street (Stop 15)
  6. Turn back and cross Main Street, heading down Pleasant Street (Stops 16-17)
  7. Turn left on Friend Street and left again onto Fowler Street (Stop 18)
  8. Make right onto Church Street and follow it back to Main Street.  (Stops 19-20)
We hope you enjoyed your visit.  Special thanks to Tim Cranston, our local historian for making this tour possible!  For more information about our historic town, visit his website.

Stop #1 – Waterside Mill

Waterside Mill c.1865; 1 Brown Street

This brick Industrial style building was built by the American Bobbin Company and housed Wickford's only successful mill. The Gregory Mill was a late 19th century manufacturing enterprise which produced cotton, worsted fabric for men's suits. A mansard tower, now gone, once topped the projecting block on the south face of the building. Notice the striking brick dentils along the cornice.

Stop #2 – Second Jabez Bullock House

Second Jabez Bullock House c. 1839; 30 Brown Street

This Greek Revival house set behind a delicate wooden fence was built for Jabez Bullock's second wife, who didn't want to live in her predecessor's larger house at 56 Main Street. The severe, classical styling of this house has paneled corner pilasters and a wide-board, end-gabled pediment. Notice the portico entranceway with doric fluted columns.

Stop #3 William Gregory House (The Sunflower House)

William Gregory House (The Sunflower House) c.1883; 38 Brown Street This cross-gabled Queen Anne style house with its rich array of decorative motifs was built by William Gregory, the 19th century tycoon who went on to become the governor of Rhode Island in 1900. This 2 1/2 story house was built with a 3 story turret to view the owner's business interests: the Gregory Mill to the south, the harbor to the east, and the Gregory office building to the north. Notice the carved sunflower plaque on the north side of the house.    

Stop #4 Wickford Public Library

Wickford Public Library c.1898; presently the Town Hall Annex, 55 Brown Street This richly detailed civic building was designed in the form of a temple. The library was built as a gift to the village by merchant C. Allen Chadsey and designed by architect F.J. Sawtelle of Providence. At the 1899 dedication of the library, the structure was described as "altogether one of the most striking and complete edifices of its character in the state." Notice the classical temple features: the free-standing 2-story columns, proportional pediment, and leading stairs.    

Stop #5 Wickford National Bank

Wickford National Bank c.1871; until recently the Standard Times Building, 13 West Main Street This 2-story Italianate building has a rusticated stone first floor façade and a brick and stone quoining façade on the second. The bank was erected after the previous premises were destroyed by a fire during a robbery attempt. This is one of the finest, small-scale business blocks in the state of Rhode Island. Note the modillion cornice that outlines the eaves.

Stop #6 Avis Block

Avis Block c.1850-1851; 1-11 West Main Street This 2 1/2 story brick commercial block, the "Brick Block" as it was called back then, was built for Mrs. Avis Brown on the site of Wickford's worst fire. On New Year's Eve, 1850, seven buildings were totally destroyed at the most compact part of the village.  Avis Ann (Smith) Spink was one of the village’s most prominent business persons in the mid-19th century.  The Wickford business community was heavily woman-centric even back then. This is an outstanding example of small-scale mid-19th century commercial architecture. Separating the shop fronts from the upper floors are rusticated brownstone piers. Note the four bay window dormers on the gabled roof.

Stop #7 The Gregory Building

The Gregory Building c.1891; 1 Main Street This building is an isolated monument to William Gregory's urban ambitions for Wickford. It was designed by W. C. Sawtelle of Providence in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and was meant to be part of planned, but never-built, buildings on either side. The 3-story building of brick, stone, and terra cotta has interior iron supports. The post office occupied the first floor from 1893 to 1943 and Wickford's first high school classes met on the third floor. Notice the sharply cut vertical brick pilasters and the Romanesque arch of the doorways. Also note the plaque to the right of the large front window showing the high water mark of the 1938 hurricane.

Stop #8 First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church in Wickford c.1816 & 1835; 34-40 Main Street This impressive Greek Revival church is sited on a rise set back from Main Street. Constructed of wood, its simple forms and splendid portico exemplify the adaption of a Greek Revival style to a provincial setting. Notice the paneled pilasters and detailing of the belfry, which has attracted much attention as an early "country cousin" version of a more formal architectural style.

Stop # 9 Saint Paul’s Church

Saint Paul's Church c.1847; 55 Main Street This simple, white clapboard, Lombard-Romanesque style church is evidence of Wickford's continuing prosperity in the mid-19th century. This ambitious church was designed by one of Rhode Island's most gifted architects, Thomas A. Teft. The church was erected for the congregation of old Saint Paul's Church at the Old Narragansett Church. Part of the charm of the church is its small size, scaled down to fit with the street and set close to the sidewalk like the adjacent houses. Notice the tower with bell turret, an 1872 Gothic addition

Stop #10 Bullock-Thomas House

Bullock-Thomas House c.1825; 56 Main Street This monumental 2 1/2 story late Federal style house was built for Jabez Bullock's first wife. The main structure of the dwelling has an Ionic columned portico centered on a 5-bay façade. The Main Street Association (a forerunner of today's HistWick) organized here in 1932 for the preservation of Wickford's architecture. Notice the monitor of hip roof with balustrade.

Stop #11 Wickford House

Wickford House (Alexander Huling House) c.1769; 68 Main Street This large, mid-18th century house is one of the most famous of the former taverns in Wickford. The house undoubtedly received its greatest notoriety from 1882 through 1920 when Mother Prentice ran a restaurant here. "Mother Prentice's" was famous throughout the nation because of its popularity among traveling performers. Note the Federal style doorway (this 1962-1964 addition is from the destroyed Governor Reynolds' house) that replaced the 1888 Victorian door hood of Mother Prentice's.

Stop #12 The Narragansett House

The Narragansett House (Potter-Dean House) c.1773; 71 Main Street. This large, 18th century, 2-story house was a tavern and hotel for most of its existence. The building has flushboard string courses at the floor levels and simple cornices. During the Revolutionary War, the men of Wickford mustered to service in its main room. Notice the wooden quions on the corners of the structure.

Stop #13 Captain Richard Barney House

Captain Richard Barney House c.1809; 115 Main Street This 2 1/2 story central chimney Federal style house with a fanlight in pediment doorways is in many ways typical of the type of house built in all parts of Rhode Island during this period. This house has some more unusual decorative enrichments. Note the rope-like wooden molding on the doorway which is symbolic of the homeowner's mariner trade.

Stop #14 Charles Stafford House

Charles Stafford House  c1895; 125 Main Street This home was constructed in 1895 for blacksmith, businessman and North Kingstown Town Treasurer Charles Stafford and his wife Susan (Cozzens) Stafford and their family.  Before building this fine house, Stafford had relocated the pre-existing circa 1755 George Fowler Jr. house, from the Main Street side of the lot to the back of the property and sited it fronting Bay Street. Charles, who had apprenticed as a blacksmith in the village some 25 years earlier under Horace Shippee, was now a prominent businessman and the recently elected Town Treasurer, a position he held until his death in 1926 at 76 years of age. His eldest daughter Mary assumed her father’s position upon his demise and held the office another 20 years until her passing. All told, the Town of North Kingstown’s finances were in the able hands of a Stafford for 53 years, and the business of the community was run out of this grand home during all of that time. Mary’s sister, Miss Nellie Stafford, a dressmaker who had a shop in the village and later in East Greenwich, lived in the house along with her sister Mary, for 57 years until her own death in 1951. As she had no immediate relatives, she left the home to her beloved Wickford Baptist Church and they resold it. The home, to this day, is still known by old-timers in town as Miss Nellie’s house.

Stop #15 The Old Yellow (Chase-Thomas House)

The Old Yellow (Chase-Thomas House) c.1735, 6 Bay Street This central chimney house is the oldest standing home in the village. In former years, the owners regularly gave the house a coat of yellow white-wash, hence the name Old Yellow. Notice the simplicity of design and lack of ornamentation. Over the centuries it has been owned by members of nearly every family that has figured prominently in the history of the community, including Thomas Cranston and Thomas Brenton, the grandsons of two different Colonial Governors of Rhode Island. By far the most interesting period of the house’s existence was from around 1885 to 1966 when it was owned by freed slaves, Jim and Christina Chase and their descendants. Jim Chase was a Civil War Veteran and respected member of the local G.A.R. chapter, who came to Wickford after the War and worked as a laborer and a teamster. While in the employ of coal dealer, T. S. Baker, Chase purchased “Old Yellow” from his boss and moved in with his family.  Eventually Chase came up with the novel idea of growing, drying, and packaging yeast in the basement of the big house for resale to area bakers and brewers. O

Stop #16 Straight-Reynolds House

Straight-Reynolds House Built c1880; 26 Pleasant Street Architectural Style: Victorian, Second Empire This impressive home was built in 1880 by local merchant Stephen R. Straight who ran a large variety store in the Gregory Building during the last quarter of the 1800’s. The house was then purchased by Joseph G. Reynolds Sr., who had just retired from the jewelry business in Providence and returned here to the village of his birth to assume the treasurers position at the Wickford Savings Bank recently held by his father Capt. Stephen Reynolds who had just died. Reynolds son, Joseph Jr. went to school here in town and was immediately noted for his artistic abilities. They enrolled him in the fledgling RI School of Design and young Joseph took full advantage of his daily trips north on the Sea View trolley to college. Upon graduation, he continued his studies of medieval stained glass in England and Europe and finishing up there, came back to Wickford as one of the most promising stained glass artisans in America.  By 1920 Joseph Reynolds Jr.  opened his own stained glass studio in Boston and the rest is, as they say, history. His inspiring and majestic work of art can be seen all over America and Europe as well as little St. Paul’s Church and this fine home right here in Wickford.

Stop # 17 Captain Beriah H. Gardiner House

Captain Beriah H. Gardiner House c.1870; 39 Pleasant Street This house was constructed for 68 year old retiring sea captain Beriah H. Gardiner, son of Beriah Gardiner ofMain Street, in 1870 on a lot he purchased from the widow Abby Cotter who lived next door. Beriah moved in with his second wife Maria (his first wife Frances Heffernan having died in 1866) and his two adult daughters Harriet and Anna.  He passed away in 1876 and left the house to Harriet. By 1880, the house had been expanded to include the small el to the south and the unmarried Harriet was sharing the house with her widowed sister Abby Carpenter and her family along with their aunt Susan C. Heffernan. At one time it was owned by Nils Thor Granlund a Broadway show producer, radio industry pioneer, a publicist for Marcus Loew who formed Loews Theatres and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). He was a “mover and shaker” in the rapidly expanding entertainment industry and was credited with “discovering” entertainers like Georgie Jessell, Yvonne DeCarlo, Joanne Crawford, Fred Wynne and others. When he moved on toHollywoodhe was credited as being the inventor of the “movie trailer”. In 1941 it was sold to the Seavey Family. The Seavey’s, who for many years ran a popular ice cream parlor and drugstore on Brown Street in the village, owned this home for 68 years, through two generations.

Stop #18 Lauriston Hall Esq. House

Lauriston Hall Esq. House c. 1847; 25 Fowler Street The core of this home was constructed in 1847 for lawyer and world traveler Lauriston Hall. Hall, son of lawyer John Hall who maintained a home and law office nearby onWest Main Street, only owned this place for a short while. In August of 1848, he sold it to Eunice Gardiner, wife of Rowland E. Gardiner, and went on a lengthy world tour; he died in 1875 inCallaoPeru. At one point it was owned by Henry Girard.  He was a giant of a man who was a portable sawmill operator and lumber merchant in town. One of the many stories in the historic record involving Henry occurred in Providence when he and his brother, also a massive man, were pulled over by a local police officer for driving their Model T Ford the wrong way up a one way street. The imposing Girard boys rose up out of the Model T looked the officer square in the eye and then proceeded to pick up their car and turn it around facing the other direction. Henry spat out “How’s that officer!” and drove off, leaving theProvidencepatrolman scratching his head in wonderment.

Stop 19 Old Narragansett Church

Old Narragansett Church (St. Paul's Church) c.1707; 62 Church Lane This famous building is one of the earliest reflections of English Classical design in the colonies. The oldest standing Anglican Church building in Rhode Island, it was erected to serve Narragansett and moved to Wickford in 1800. The 2 1/2 story building with gabled roof is based on the traditional Puritan New England Meeting House. The interior has an exposed frame and a plastered, barrel-vaulted ceiling. Notice the double doorway flanked by plain pilasters with an arched broken pediment above. The old gravestones in the tiny church yard merit attention.

Stop #20 Daniel Weeden House

Daniel Weeden House c.1792; 38 Church Street This quaint little home at the corner onChurch Lanehas one of the most mysterious pasts of all of Wickford’s numerous historic structures. Existing real estate records indicate that the lot the house sits upon was purchased by cordwainer (a shoemaker and leather worker) Daniel Weeden in 1805 from Lodowick Updike. At the time of the purchase, Weeden already owned a fine home, the Pearce/Weeden House near the Saugo Farm of the Updike family located on a lane off of the present day Camp Avenue.  Additionally architectural evidence suggests that the building was not originally constructed as a house. These facts suggest that this may have originally been the shoemaker shop that Daniel Weeden shared with his son Christopher also a shoemaker. By 1809 the building was owned by Captain Samuel Gould and his wife Sarah Ann (Campbell) Gould. The accumulated evidence suggests that they were the persons responsible for turning this building into a gambrel-roofed home.

Additional Information

You may also be interested in the following article which was posted on the internet. Photo Travel Essay of Wickford Village, R.I. "A Hidden Gem That Will Melt Your Heart With True New England Coastal Flavor" Article and photos by Eric H.
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