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Built c.1784, the Billings Coggeshall House is a narrow, one-room-wide double house with two interior chimneys and a gable roof. Originally located at 23-25 Cannon Street, the house had been relocated to Mill Street when the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building and property in 1969. NRF restored the house and created Comstock Court during a two-year period between 1971 and 1973.

The house has design elements common to mid-eighteenth century architecture, such as window and cornice moldings and simple, well-proportioned pediment doorways. Although by 1784 some new buildings had begun to take on Federal-style design elements, the details of the house are in keeping with the simpler, pre-Revolutionary style.

The house was originally located in an area of Newport that later lay in the path of the Memorial Boulevard West construction. (All the buildings on Cannon and Levin Streets, along with the streets themselves, were eliminated during the construction of this road.) In 1966-67, the house was moved in two sections from Cannon to Mill Street in order to save it from demolition. The owner had purchased the Mill Street property, home to an auto dealership, and demolished much of that brick-and-block building in order to make way for the house.

No restorations had been done when NRF bought the building. It was then rebuilt and restored, guided by bits and pieces of early fabric in the interior. Utilizing the perimeter brick walls of the old auto dealership building, an office wing with a cobbled courtyard was built. The facility -named Comstock Court after NRF's second director, Francis Comstock-was used for many years by NRF before it was turned over to a commercial tenant.
The Billings Coggeshall House remains unique among extant Newport double houses with its simple, one-room-deep plan. The new office complex, with its courtyard hidden from the street and acquiring a patina of its own, has become a coveted professional space.

Preservation property detailimage

Photo of the house before restoration.

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