Backstory and Context
Stephen Hopkins Smith built this Federal style house in 1810 of fieldstone. The home contains 10 fireplaces or hearths. Smith allegedly built the house with winnings from the Louisiana state lottery to unsuccessfully woo a woman from Providence, giving it the nickname “the house that love built.” Hearthside served as a private residence until 1996, when the town of Lincoln purchased the property and the Friends of Hearthside, Inc. became operators of the property. The mission of Friends of Hearthside, Inc. is “to serve as stewards of the house and help preserve the property, while promoting its historical significance and accessibility to the public.”
Hearthside House is open frequently for guided tours, special events and exhibits, as well as by appointment for group tours.
Hearthside is considered to be one of the finest examples of early 19th century federal-style houses. The unique 2 ½ story house is built of fieldstone, a rarity in dwellings of the time. It first received attention and recognition as a historic property when it was chosen as the inspiration for the Rhode Island State Pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. In 1937, the interior and exterior of the house were photographed as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey, a program started by the Federal government within the National Park Service to document significant historic buildings in the United States. The house was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
In 1985, the Great Road, on which Hearthside is located, was designated a Scenic By-Way by the State of Rhode Island. It is one of the oldest thoroughfares in the country and includes several other historic homes dating as far back as 1687.