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Newport's Oldest House - Romancing the Stone Ender

Posted by Holly McLear on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 9:51am.

John Bliss House c. 1680

Historic homes abound in Newport, RI, but the John Bliss House is a real stand out, and it's FOR SALE!

Historic John Bliss House, c 1680, is widely regarded as Newport, RI’s oldest existing home – an architecturally significant Stone Ender Colonial, built by Quakers.  A true Antique! The structures’ signature feather is its Stone Ender Fireplace, a massive focal point of the interior. The Stone Ender Chimney occupies the whole North facing wall protecting the farmhouse from the cold north air. The chimney has 2 FP’s on first floor, and two more on the second floor.  There are two very larges fire places, each  8' wide, and one with a Beehive oven for baking.  These fireplaces, especially the dining room fireplace, would have burned wood 24/7 for cooking.  Today this 3 story house offers 3 large bedrooms, 1 smaller one and 2.5 baths. There are wide pine board floors throughout and a few 18” wide  Kings’ Boards* in very good condition.

ANTIQUE CHARM, ADAPTED FOR 21ST CENTURY LIVING

This old farmhouse retains its original design integrity but now has all the modern comforts including granite kitchen counters, stainless appliances, and gas cooking. The formal dining room has a beehive fireplace, and exposed original wood ceiling that is authentic and charming.  The living room is 16’ x 16’ and lends itself to formal or informal entertaining with the wood burning fireplace.

The attic Is finished living space with exposed rafters, large skylights, a shower bathroom, three large closets, office space, and a gas stove for heating.  This is a perfect bedroom, study, media room, or artist’s loft.  There are two staircases, the original winding wood stair from the first floor  up to the attic, and a straight back staircase to the second level. 

The grounds have been landscaped over the years with beautiful trees, shrubs, flowering bushes, crushed seashell walk paths, two slate patios, and a large pergola that promises shaded ambiance. There are raised garden beds, a Nantucket shed for storage, a large paved driveway, and custom built mahogany wood outdoor shower. The property has a parcel of land included. Currently used as integrated yard space with the driveway, but may be buildable.

*KINGS BOARDS ( pine floor boards 18”-24” wide). During the American Revolution the British Militia was ordered by the King to bring back the white pine boards from the colonists’ Farm houses.  The reasoning was that the wide pine wood was favored for ship building, and the monarch was short on supply.  Legend has it that the crafty Yankees hid them from the British in the attic floors. Some remain today and they’ll catch your eye as the width is striking, and they add to the romantic history of the beautiful John Bliss Stone Ender house.

Holly McLear 

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