Jeremiah Dexter House, 1754
The Jeremiah Dexter House is located on the corner of Rochambeau Avenue and North Main Street in Providence. Built in 1754 by printer Jeremiah Dexter, this is a rare example of an early Providence farmhouse which has survived almost without alteration, except for a two-room ell added in 1850.
It is an historically significant property as it is the only extant building of a group of 18th century farms owned by members of the Dexter family, all on land originally granted in 1636 to Gregory Dexter, an associate of Roger Williams. The Dexter descendants retained the property through eight generations until 1977, when it was deeded to Preserve Rhode Island.
The house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located on the site of the French Army's encampment in November 1782, on their triumphant return from victory with General Washington against British Troops at Yorktown. As Providence grew up around the Dexter farm, this great event was commemorated in naming Rochambeau Avenue after the French general whose timely aid to the American side was so instrumental in their gaining ultimate victory in the Revolutionary War.
Dexter House also illustrates the fundamental preservation principle of adaptive reuse. Once part of a rural farmstead, the house now lies in a modern urban landscape and on a busy four-lane street. The property's location has made it ideal for use as office space, and so it has been continuously used as such since 1977 and has served as the headquarters of Preserve Rhode Island since 2001.