Clingstone – An Honest House

On September 1, 2009, in Inspiration, Popular, by Kenton Ross

clingstone_titleClingstone is a house with 23 rooms radiating off a central hall built on a rock in Narragansett Bay.

J.S. Wharton built it in 1903 in response to the eminent domain seizure of his summer home in Pennsylvania, commenting “I’m going to build where no one can bother me”.

Total cost of construction was $36,984.

In August 1904 a society page in nearby Providence expressed the opinion that “Mr. Wharton will not stay in the house more than one season and they say ‘one nor’easter will settle it.”  But J.W. spent every summer at Clingstone until his death in 1924. The house survived the hurricane of 1938 with little damage.

From the time of his widow’s death in 1941, the house stood abandoned until 1961 when Henry Wood – an architect from Boston – purchased the house for $3,600.

Henry’s sister claims the house is ‘known to eat women’. “I do feel like I lost a limb or two. It’s a rough place – like camping – or a farm where you have to make your own butter.”  Amused, Henry replied mildly, “You never made butter here.”

A loyal friend of the house and family, Mr. Benson  commented, “It has carried its elegance – no, that’s a bad word – it has carried its honesty through the generations – from the well-to-do people that built it to the people who have to work to support it.”


There is a hand-painted sign by the ladder that leads to the roof that reads: No entry after three drinks or 86 years of age.

Build your life on a solid foundation, weather this economic nor’easter we’re having and – even if you are left abandoned and alone, trust the ‘rock’ of your personal integrity… someone will come along with an eye for your beauty and they will love you. You are worthy


This story was based on the original article by Penelope Green published in the New York Times on August 7, 2008. Photos courtesy of Erik Jacobs – New York Times

To read the original article and see more photos Click Here

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One Response to Clingstone – An Honest House

  1. Bill Kilner says:

    What an interesting and info packed site. Thanks for this, I really appreciate what you have done here. Keep it up, and I will be back for more. Bill Kilner

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