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The John Sisson House is a small, one-and-a-half-story building of rural origins with a large center chimney and a gambrel roof. Built c.1730, the house was originally located on Old Mill Lane in Portsmouth, a town on the same island as Newport. The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the structure in 1974, disassembled it, and relocated it to the current site on Green Street where it was reconstructed and restored in 1974-75.

The original chimney was in the house at this time, but in such deteriorated condition that a complete reconstruction, utilizing old materials, was necessary. Fortunately, approximately seventy-five percent of the original fabric remained on the rest of the interior, such as mantelpieces, doors, and moldings. This was all used when the building was relocated and restored.

Preservationists must sometimes decide whether or not it is appropriate to site a rural building in an urban setting. In the various cases where NRF made the decision to do so, it was often acting under significant time pressures. The Sisson House, for example, had to be disassembled and removed from its original site in six weeks' time. In every case where a house located outside Newport was reassembled in Newport, consultants to NRF recommended relocation based on architectural significance and condition. It was better to have the building, even on a somewhat inappropriate site, than not to have the building at all. This was a principle generally held by preservationists throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Preservation property detailimage

Photo of the house before restoration.

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