JEREMIAH DEXTER HOUSE - 1754

A rare example of an early Providence farmhouse which has survived almost without alteration.

 

Early Beginnings

The land on which the Dexter House sits was given to Reverend Gregory Dexter by Roger Williams in 1645, and was part of a large estate stretching from Olney Street along North Main Street to Smithfield Avenue and east to the Seekonk River. The house, built in 1754 by Jeremiah Dexter, is located on the original Boston to New York highway, then known as the Pawtucket Turnpike (today North Main). A granite milepost marking 1.5 miles to the Providence Court House still stands at the corner of the lot.

 

A Landmark in History

Dexter Farm served as a campsite for French General Rochambeau and his troops during the American Revolution. After helping George Washington defeat the British at Yorktown, General Rochambeau encamped his troops at Dexter Farm for three weeks while awaiting ships to transport them back to France. “Rochambeau” Avenue and “Camp” Street commemorate this historical event.

Changing Times

Starting in the late 19th century, parcels of land were sold off from the original farm and the house gradually became surrounded by residential and commercial development. By 1956 the house stood on the reduced lot you see today.

Click on slideshow for full view.

Jeremiah Dexter House
Jeremiah Dexter House

This view from the corner of North Main Street and Rochambeau has changed little since this 1850 photo - the street lamp and workshop at the far right no longer exist.

press to zoom
HABS West Elevation Drawing
HABS West Elevation Drawing

The Historic American Buildings Survey drawing completed ca. 1933-37.

press to zoom
Dexter House 1977 dedication
Dexter House 1977 dedication

In 1977, E. Margaret Nevin donated Dexter House to Preserve Rhode Island. Her husband J. Benjamin Nevin was the great-grandson of Jeremiah Dexter.

press to zoom
Jeremiah Dexter House
Jeremiah Dexter House

This view from the corner of North Main Street and Rochambeau has changed little since this 1850 photo - the street lamp and workshop at the far right no longer exist.

press to zoom
1/7
Dexter House
957 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904
Dexter House
History Gallery

The Edmund F. Capozzi, Sr. Gallery features historic photographs of the Dexter House and historic rehab projects from the Rhody Awards for Historic Preservation. Visit the gallery during  PRI's office hours.

Protecting the Past Today

Eight generations of the Dexter family owned the house until descendants gave it to Preserve Rhode Island in 1977 for safekeeping. The House was given new life by adaptive reuse for an office.


Preserve Rhode Island embarked on a restoration campaign, including replacement of asphalt roof shingles with period wooden shingles and repair of rotted window frames and sashes that recreated the original 9-over-9 window design.


A landscape project in 2014 opened the view to the house with new fencing and plantings. Now used as Preserve Rhode Island’s headquarters, the building needs continued maintenance to keep it in good condition. Currently, funds are being raised for exterior painting, replacement of rotted clapboards, and systems upgrades.

Click on slideshow for full view.

Dexter House Roof Project
Dexter House Roof Project

Major capital repairs like this historically appropriate cedar shingle roof will preserve Dexter House's historic appearance and last longer than an asphalt shingle roof.

press to zoom
Dexter House Roof Project
Dexter House Roof Project

Preservation contractors Heritage Restoration install a new cedar shingle roof at Dexter House.

press to zoom
Dexter House Landscape in 2016
Dexter House Landscape in 2016

Lush grass and defined beds with pachysandra accentuate the flowering trees.

press to zoom
Dexter House Roof Project
Dexter House Roof Project

Major capital repairs like this historically appropriate cedar shingle roof will preserve Dexter House's historic appearance and last longer than an asphalt shingle roof.

press to zoom
1/11