In 1888, local citizens purchased the 140-acre Oliver Watson Farm for $5,000 as a site for an agricultural experiment station and school. Little did they know the educational seed they planted would bloom into a distinguished university with a world-renowned reputation.
To acknowledge those forward-looking citizens, URI will host a Founders’ Day Festival, Thursday, April 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on its Quadrangle. (Rain Date: Thursday, April 27.)
An open house and tours of the restored two-story, colonial farmhouse will be available during the celebration. Hayrides leaving the Quad will make a stop at the Watson House for those interested in taking a tour.
Built around 1796, the Watson House, is the oldest structure on URI’s campus. It is named after its last and ninth owner, Oliver Watson, who occupied the house from 1844 to 1888.
When purchased, the house served as a residence for the farm manager, but was soon converted into a women’s dormitory. Later it became the home of Lambda Chi Fraternity, a men’s dormitory, a tea room operated by the Department of Home Center was built, Watson House became idle.