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Barrington Homestead 'Historic Place'

The RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission approves the Allen-West Homestead for eligibility for the national and state registers of historic places.

An historic Barrington home has been approved for eligibility for listing in the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission Review Board voted unanimously last Wednesday, Jan. 9,  to approve the eligibility of the 1763 Allen-West Homestead at 153 George St.

"There is excellent information about this house... it is certainly worthy of recognition," said Ronald Onorato, an art professor at the University of Rhode Island. 

The nomination cited the significance of the homestead in three specific ways: 

  1. as one of the few surviving architectural examples of the Square-Plan Georgian house in the Narragansett Basin;
  2. as Barrington's only pre-Revolutionary farmhouse with nearly all of its original 60 acres in an undeveloped condition due to town and non-profit ownership with permanent conservation easements;  
  3. as the last vestige of pre-Revolutionary settlement in the Nockum Hill area.

"Nockum Hill was settled in the late 1660s around the site of the meeting house of a Baptist congregation, led by the Rev. John Myles, an early advocate of religious toleration," according to a new release from the Barrington Preservation Society.  "The extant covenant of this church allowed Baptists and Puritan Congregationalists to worship together, a milestone in colonial history, according to the Barrington Preservation Society."

"The National Register is the nation's inventory of historic places important to our heritage for their importance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture," according to the preseration society. "The acceptance of the eligibility of this property is a step in the preservation of Nockum Hill.  Such status places the Allen-West Homestead within a formal review process by agencies concerned with preserving our American heritage, who act if federal or state funds or licenses are involved in plans that may impact this historic area."

A preservation society made up of of Van Edwards, Nat Taylor and Bonnie Warren, assisted by the Rev. Dr. Charlie Hartman, a recently-retired pastor of the First Baptist Church in Swansea, prepared the documents for John J. Lawrence, owner of the home, and his son, Jason Lawrence.

"The committee feels that this is the first step in the effort to document the 17th-century settlement of Barrington, Rhode Island and Swansea, Massachusetts, said Edwards.

"What we are discovering is the richness and depth of the connection between the two towns and the importance of the Reverend John Myles as the founder of a congregation, which will celebrate its 350th Anniversary in 2013," he said.

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