Welcome to the 17th Century

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms

Description

Built in 1677 the Major Thomas Fenner House is the oldest home in the Providence Plantations and one of the few original “stone-enders” in existence. The 2400 sqft 4 BD 2 BA home sits on 3 acres of land siding to Stone Pond. When you turn down the long driveway from a 1970s residential neighborhood you will find a tranquil setting among ancient trees bringing you back to a time of early colonial Rhode Island

The home was built a few months after King Phillips War in which the settlers homes were burned to the ground. Originally built as a 2 ½ story 18. 5” x 18. 5” post and beam frame home on a field stone foundation with a massive stone fireplace. The original fire room, sleeping chamber, attic and basement are very much as they were built. In the 1700s additions were added to the south and west and in the 1920s a dormer was put on giving it a Salt Box style and an indoor bathroom

The home served as a residence, court, meeting house and tavern. Google Major Thomas Fenner Bear to see his original recipe for beer

The Home was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and is the jewel of early Rhode Island homes

The current owner brought the home back into the Fenner Family in 2006 after a 90 year hiatus with the mission of continuing its preservation for another 330 years. In 2015 the owner decided to make the property available as a vacation rental to help it support itself and to allow the public and architectural and historical scholars greater access to the home. The home is furnished with antiques, period, reproduction furniture and colonial in style. The furnishins provide the ambiance of a historic home while still providing it's guests a comfortable stay with the modern amenities (indoor plumbing, four flat screen TVs wifi and alarm system), that don't interfere with the home's historic nature. Keep in mind this home may have been five star when built, but rustic is a better description today

Among the architectural wonders of the house is the massive field stone chimney on the north side of the house which is why these homes are known as “stone-enders”. The attic window to the left of the chimney is the size of the original windows which had triangular panes of glass imported from England. The post and beam construction is of old growth virgin timbers. Check out the size of summer (wood beam over fireplace) by opening the door to the utility room and looking up to your left. This is also where the switch to the spot light that illuminates the fireplace is located. The fireplace is 10 feet wide and over 5 ½ feet tall. To open and close the flue push up and pull down the metal bar visible on the right hand side of the fireplace. The granite beneath, in front of and siding fireplace is the original kitchen. A heavy metal bar can be seen by looking up the chimney. This was used to hang pots to cook as well as three legged pots sitting in the coals such as the one in the back left hand side of the fireplace. You can see the shallow beehive oven in the back of the chimney which fell out of fashion as a result of too many women catching their dresses on fire while cooking. The large floor joists which can be seen in the basement were placed only 5 inches apart and those joists are given the credit for the home still standing after 338 years. In the attic can be seen the distinctive scars of lumber which has been “pit-sawn”

It was a new England tradition to gift newlyweds two sugar maples to plant in their backyard so they would have maple sugar for life. The maple trees behind the house were likely planted in the 2nd half of the 19th Century. When in the breakfast nook look out the window to your left to see the maple tree with the swing, then look at the photo next to the window with the two girls (Dolly and Ruth Stone) taken circa 1900. Same tree. Different swing. The branch the swing is hung from is dead so please don't use the swing. The pantry next to the breakfast nook has been moved from the left of the main fireplace, but it is the original 1677 pantry

During a Standard Rate period reservations of less than 7 days will only be accepted within 30 days of occupancy or when it immediately proceeds or follows an existing reservation. Feel free to make an inquiry anyway, because I may have another guest I'm about to book immediately proceeding or following the dates you have requested

As you can imagine a home of this age has some features unique to what guests might be used to. Some doorways are low, thresholds are high, steps are steep, and cracks in the 1677 wide plank flooring would make high heels a nightmare. A 1929 Elmsford gas stove is the centerpiece of the kitchen. The cook top has an open pilot, so do not place anything flammable of top of the stove. The controls for the oven are on the right hand side of the stove

Among the famous descendants of Major Thomas Fenner was Governor Arthur Fenner who was in office at the time Rhode Island ratified the Constitution. Rhode Island was the last state to do so because Governor Fenner held out until he was promised that the Bill of Rights would follow shortly thereafter. He was likely one of the Gaspee Raiders, but dodged a subpoena and was never formerly accused. His son, James Fenner was a US Senator who resigned his post to run for Governor of Rhode Island when his father died. James was a graduate of Brown University in 1789 and was #1 in his class. He was elected 7 times serving a total of 14 years

Rhode Island shows its brightest foliage in October. Western and northern Rhode Island are heavily wooded. Blackstone Valley region includes the towns of Pawtucket, home of Slater Mill, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America. The Blackstone Valley Explorer river boat offers trips on the river into mid-October. Beautiful foliage will be on display at Roger Williams Park and Zoo in Providence; and at Blithewold Mansion & Gardens in Bristol. In South County, a great scenic drive is Route 1 and Route 1A from Westerly to Wickford. Rhode Island shows its brightest colors in October. Western and northern Rhode Island are heavily wooded. Blackstone Valley region includes the towns of Pawtucket, home of Slater Mill, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America. The Blackstone Valley Explorer river boat offers trips on the river into mid-October. Beautiful foliage will be on display at Roger Williams Park and Zoo in Providence; and at Blithewold Mansion & Gardens in Bristol. In South County, a great scenic drive is Route 1 and Route 1A from Westerly to Wickford

We charge $50 for credit card processing which is the average amount we are charged. If you would like to pay by check that $50 fee will be waived

Our policy is to only allow reservations of less than 7 days when the guests arrival is within 30 days or immediately proceeds or follows an existing booking

Amenities

  • Internet
  • Parking
  • A/C
  • Heating
  • TV
  • Laundry
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace

Map

Out of concern for privacy, this map displays an approximate location.
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