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It is believed that the Harkness House, built c. 1730, was originally located on Thames Street near Pelham Street. It is an excellent example of the eighteenth-century, gambrel roof cottage, a style commonly found in Newport and of which there are many examples still standing. The house has one-and-a-half stories, with two rooms on each floor, and a central chimney. There is a fireplace in each of the first floor rooms, but only one on the second floor. The house was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1983 and restored in 1983-84.

This little house has led a wandering life and been relocated three times. During the eighteenth century, the house was moved to Old Beach Road. In the nineteenth century, it was moved again, this time to Prospect Hill Street. (Exact dates for these two early moves are unknown.) When NRF acquired the house, it was being threatened with demolition to accommodate the expansion of a parking lot on Prospect Hill Street. After being disassembled by NRF, the house was moved yet again, this time to its present site on Green Street. This is quite close to the Thames and Pelham Streets location where it appears the house was first built.

As is often the case with houses that were moved, the house lost its chimney early on. The replacement chimney and fireplaces built during restoration were based on framing and trace lines for the hearths that were visible on the floors. This house is one of the last to be restored by NRF.

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