Although the Smith home was built in 1705, the stone base of the chimney stack is much older, believed to have survived King Philip's War (1675-1676). The stone-ender style has ties to medieval home building common in southern Britain, noted for its huge chimney walls, timber framing, and plank-walled structures. Settlers to the U.S. brought this style with them to such places as Rhode Island. Joseph Smith re-used the surviving stone when he had the house built in the early part of the 18th century. The stone-ender was part of Smith's 190-acre farm.
The house also serves as reminder of the legacy left by the Smith family, beginning with John Smith, Joseph's grandfather (died 1663). In 1649, John was selected to serve as Rhode Island's president, a job he took again in 1652. Most notably, John oversaw the passing of legislation in 1652 that abolished slavery.
In 1762, the Smiths left the house, which allowed Judge Daniel Jenckes, Chief Justice of Providence, to purchase the farm at a public auction and subsequently give it to his son John, whose wealth afforded him the opportunity to double the size of the house and redecorate its interior.
The house has passed through numerous hands over the years, and the farm has slowly been sold in pieces; thus the farm has dwindled and is now ostensibly nonexistent.