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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI’s historic Watson House to hold Sunday Open House
One of 80 R.I. museums, art centers to open doors Oct. 27

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 23, 2002 -- The Oliver Watson House, the only remaining building from the Watson Farm that became the University of Rhode Island, will hold an Open House Sunday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Watson House, which dates to 1796, is one of 80 museums, cultural arts centers, theaters and historic sites throughout the state that will open their doors free of charge to the public.
The effort will demonstrate the variety of historic properties in every corner of the state that can benefit from passage of bond question 2 on the Nov. 5 ballot that would provide $3 million for restoration work on these sites.

The Watson House Committee, made up of University and community members, has applied for $15,000 for painting, plaster and window work in the event the bond issues passes.

Sandy Taylor, the University architect and chair of the committee, said the Watson House is the only remaining architectural piece from the farm that now serves as a museum of antiques. After the farm was purchased in 1888 for the state’s agricultural school, the Watson House served the state college and later the University as a dormitory, daycare center, and sorority.

"We invite alumni, students, and area residents to visit with us on Sunday to experience one of Kingston’s most important historic buildings and the artifacts preserved inside," Taylor said.
"We hope this helps people understand why these funds are critically needed," Taylor said. "When we think about preserving the story of the very beginnings of public higher education in Rhode Island, it would be a shame if the Watson House were to fall into disrepair."

The white, wood shingled and clapboard house is located between the University Library and the Tucker residence hall on Farm House Road. There are three rooms on each of the two floors that are furnished to reflect the general early 18th Century period. The foundation and chimney base are made of fieldstone.

For a complete list of all of the open houses, visit the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission at

For information, Sandy Taylor 874-4061

Media Contact:, Dave Lavallee 874-2116

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