Superintendent/Director's House

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Superintendent/Director's House


This home is now classified as the home of the Director. It has been erected within three decades, to furnish a home for the Superintendent of the State Farm, F. B. Jewett, M.D. Facing the· State Infirmary, it became the logical home for the first elected Medical Superintendent of the State Infirmary, Henry A. Jones, M.D., who occupied this house for the period of seven years. A movement was on foot at one time to add wings to this house and convert it into a home for the illegitimate mothers and children at the State Infirmary, whose numbers were greater than they are at this present time.
Various Directors have lived in this house since the first Superintendent of the. Infirmary left it.
A former Director, Mr. Putnam, evidently incurred the displeasure of an escaped inmate, Frank Weeden, who lay in wait within the shrubbery near the basement window with a double barrelled shotgun, hoping that he could catch the Director and the Superintendent of the State Hospital (whom he later slew) together in this basement so that he could fell them both at one blast. Fortunately, a night watchman approaching the night watch cottage to the right of this building disturbed the delusion of the insane person and he thereupon slunk into the woods below the house.  Because of this occurrence, the large electric lights illuminating the various institutional homes have been erected at a considerable cost yearly to the State, which shows in a financial way how far the delusions of an insane person may affect the finances of a State.
Excerpt from: Scrapbook, c. 1930 of properties at Howard (Accession 1998-121)

It was the infusion of large amounts of federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds that dramatically altered the appearance of the Howard complex and permitted, if briefly, appropriate physical accommodation for patients, inmates, and attendants. Overcrowding has been a chronic problem at Howard and only the large-scale construction program of the WPA could solve it. Despite the building effort of the 1920s, in 1933 the State Hospital, with accommodations for 1,550, housed 2,235 and was labeled the most overcrowded mental hospital in the northeast.
Excerpt from: Historical Preservation Commission’s Statewide Historical Preservation Report P-C-1 on Cranston, 1980

See also:
Cranston: National Register of Historic Places, 1984

Report of the Committee of State Charities and Corrections Upon the State Institutions at Cranston, Made to the Senate, at its January Session, 1883

Report of the Joint Special Committee on the State Asylum for the Insane Made to the General Assembly at its January Session, A.D. 1868

Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission:  Statewide Preservation Reports, 1975 - 1982

Article Written by William F. Gleason, M.D....on a State School for Feeble-Minded Children, 1907

Report of State Commission on Public Welfare Institutions, 1943

Special Legislative Commission to Study the Howard Complex records, 1970-1972

Annual Report of the State Hospital for Mental Diseases, 1922-1935

Mother's Aid Annual Report of the State Public Welfare Commission to the General Assembly, 1923 - 1935

State Home and School Annual Report, 1898-1935

External Related Resources:
Rhode Island Historical Society: Rhode Island State Institutions Records, 1839-1968 (bulk 1885-1944)

Missouri State Archives exhibit- Quest for a Cure: Care and Treatment in Missouri's First State Mental Hospital


Accession 1998-121 - Scrapbook of [Photographs], c. 1930 of properties at Howard (Cranston)


Rhode Island State Archives


c. 1930


Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.





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Rhode Island. State Public Welfare Commission, "Superintendent/Director's House," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #801, (accessed May 20, 2019).