Known as “The House That Love Built,” the Hearthside House in Lincoln, Rhode Island, comes with a tale of love and loss.
According to legend, Quaker Stephen Hopkins Smith won $40,000 in the lottery around 1810. While he lived in a modest house across the way, he decided to built an exquisite house to win the love of a young socialite from nearby Providence, who had told him she needed to reside in one of the most magnificent houses in the state.
After the mansion was erected, he took her for a buggy ride to show her the grand estate. Her response? “My, what a beautiful house, but who would ever want to live out here in the wilderness?” Heartbroken, Smith returned her to Providence.
He never lived in the house and remained single. The house has also been referred to as the Heartbreak House.
One thing the socialite was right about, though, is that it was in the middle of nowhere. It set amongst farms and forests in what was then the town of Smithfield. The area became the town of Lincoln in 1871.
The house sits along Great Road, which opened in 1683 and is one of the oldest thoroughfares in the country, using a Native American trail as its guide. It ran from Providence to Mendon, Massachusetts.
After serving 200 years as a private residence, Hearthside House was purchased by the town and became a museum. The stories of the 11 families who lived here are shared through its guided tours.
The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Upcoming events, from the website:
June 5th: Flag Day and Disposal Ceremony at Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse, 12:30 – 3:00 PM. Join us for an exhibit and program in honor of Flag Day. Learn about the history of Flag Day, and see a collection of flags through three centuries displayed. There will also be a demonstration of the correct ways to dispose of American flags once they have become time worn. A $5 donation is suggested. For more information, click here or contact Friends of Hearthside at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-726-0597.
June 13th: Guided history tours of Hearthside House, with options for interior tours and one exterior tour. Advanced reservations are required. For tickets click here.