Skip to main content Skip to home page

The Edward Willis House, built c. 1807, is a one-story, gambrel-roof cottage with a central chimney and a lean-to addition across the back. The house stood on Levin Street, its original location, when the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased it in 1968. In 1969, NRF acquired a property on Spring Street, demolished the existing structure there, and relocated the Willis House to its current site. Restoration took place in 1970-71.

The lean-to of the original house was built without a basement, depending instead on brick and stone piers for support. When the structure was raised for the moving process, very little of the addition had the stability to sustain the move. The lean-to was then duplicated at the new site from salvaged and period materials.

Much of the interior period fabric has remained intact throughout the years. The detailing is simple and includes mantles, wainscoting, beam casings, cornice moldings, and a very tight, winding staircase.

The lasting popularity of this simple house style is reflected in its wide-ranging build dates of 1730 to 1807. A classic, eighteenth-century Newport cottage design, it is well represented in the NRF collection, which includes four of this type. The other three NRF houses of this style are located at 181 Spring, 35 Green and 11 Third. These, together with the many similar examples in Newport owned by private individuals, constitute an impressive survival rate.

Preservation property detailimage

Photo of the house before restoration.

Back to top