PROUD OWNER: Michael Hebert shows off the beautiful fireplace in his historic home.
From 1983 interview with Michael Hebert
Michael Hebert dates his house at about 1750 based upon his own research and information he has received form Robert O. Jones and Antoinette Downing. He feels that some sections or materials may date back to an earlier period, but that the house is a classic mid-18th century house of the basic colonial “5 room plan.” The five rooms on the first floor contained a front stairway, two large front rooms, a huge center chimney, a large “keeping” room or kitchen, and two smaller rooms. One of the small rooms was most likely used for storage, while the other was the “borning room.” The same basic pattern was repeated on the second floor with the larger rooms used as bedrooms for adults and the smaller rooms were for the children.
Most of the activity in the house centered around the “keeping room,” which was a multi-purpose room. Here was the huge fireplace with the beehive oven. This provided the most heat in the winter. The borning room, which was close by and therefore warm and easily accessible form the keeping room, was used not only as a delivery room as the name implies but also for those who may have been ailing and in need of special care.
The old red farmhouse passed to Steven Greene in 1800. He was known as Judge Greene and, like the five generations of Greenes before him, he was very active in local and state affairs. When Steven died, he left the house to his daughter, Marcy Greene, who had married Captain James Warner. Marcy inherited the silver clasp and seal of John Greene, the surgeon, as well as the house. The old homestead was to remain in the Greene (Warner) family for two more generations. In 1864 it was sold to Cyrus Harris of the Greene Manufacturing Co. in Riverpoint. Nine generations and 200 years of ownership by the “Greenes of Conimicut” covers the time in our country’s history from the Colonial period to the end of the Civil War.
Eventually, the farm passed to Maria M. (Harris) Foster in 1883. It has since been the home of the Damons, the Gledhills and now the Heberts. The years have seen a number of changes in the old red farmhouse. It now is a three-family dwelling. The well I the cellar that once was the major supply of water is covered over, as are the fireplaces and the old floors. On the exterior, shingles cover the clapboards and the chimney is lower.
The old house, even with these superficial changes, is a superb example of a mid-18th century house. Much of the original paneling in the southeast room remains, as does the heavy “bolection” molding, acorn decoration and some of the original doors. Michael Hebert intends to restore the house to its original appearance. He intends to uncover the beehive oven and fireplaces and to reline the chimney. The Heberts have already taken steps to change the address to the earlier one of 1124 West Shore Road. I couldn’t help noticing that the blue door has been painted a colonial red. The house is referred to as the “red farmhouse” in old records, and it looks as if the Heberts are already making progress.
The house has been accepted on the National Register of Historic Homes. Under the Hebert ownership, the Peter Greene house is a visual reminder of the days when Conimicut feared Indian attacks, wolves, interferences from Massachusetts and the British Crown. It will remind us of a time when the lifestyle differed and where our present values came from.
If you are a Warwick resident, you can witness a part of your heritage being restored. Keep your eyes on the old house from time to time, and watch the Heberts and Adele Anthony and Dennis Pacheco turn the clock back to 1751.
Since Michael Hebert’s ownership of the house, the home has had a number of different owners. As we reported earlier, unfortunately, not too long ago the home was abandoned and, as a result, the ravages of time, with the wind, rain and vandalism, took its toll.
Fortunately, in 2008 Adele Anthony became very interested in it and found out the house was up for foreclosure and contacted the necessary people to purchase it. Interestingly enough, one of the bank representatives saw the house and stated that he thought it should just be destroyed. Adele and Dennis did not agree and have pt in many long hours of hard work to bring it back to the pristine condition and restore an important part of our heritage.
Now, we are happy to say that the house is both a lovely house and a pleasure to see it has been restored so beautifully. In the following columns the story of the restoration by Adele and Dennis will be continued.