The Hale House honors Hale’s life and work and the deep affection he had for southern Rhode Island. The house was intentionally designed and built for seasonal occupancy as a summer house in the foothills of the Matunuck moraine with commanding views of the ocean across the Matunuck coastal plain of open farmland. Bordering an inland spring-fed pond, the property also features an 1877 boat house. The Matunuck Preservation Society, which operates the house, invites all interested people to visit during the summer season.
“We are here a mile from the Sea beach, three or four miles from Pt. Judith light, – in an old farm house that was once a tavern a hundred years ago, when this deserted Post Road was one of the thoro’fares from Boston to New York… The farms here stretch from the hills to the sea… They are kept rich by the seaweed drawn up from the beaches, and what with the hay and native flowers, and softness of the air which I always rave about as Gulf-Streamy, the air is deliciously fragrant, heaving with fragrance”
– Everett Edward Hale
During the early and mid-nineteenth century, the Hale House site was an upland portion of large land holdings in the Weeden family, whose homestead, Willow Dell, is across Route 1 to the southwest of the House.
William Weeden had the house built as a guest house for Willow Dell, specifically for the use of his friend Edward Everett Hale and his family. The Hales used the house until 1910, when Susan Hale, the last of the family to use the house, died there in September of that year.
The house remained the property of the Weeden family or the Weeden Corporation. It was let as a summer rental for four decades; tenants included cast and crew from nearby Theatre-by-the-Sea and a variety of families.
The house, with approximately 1.5 acres of land on Wash Pond, was sold in 1953 to the John Steere family of Providence for use as a summer home. The Steeres made few changes to the house during their residency. Other nearby parcels were sold by the Weeden Corporation at the same time, dividing the property on the south and east sides of Wash Pond into several lots. It was at this time that Wash Pond Road was laid out.
“Among the hills and woods were little ponds, sometimes very small, sometimes a mile or so long. One lay right behind the house, so near in fact that a fence had to be built to keep the children from falling into the water. One could row across the pond, land at the other end, where there was another called the Little Pond, and walk up into the hills, where at that time there was hardly a house for miles.”
– Everett Edward Hale
The property was purchased by Ken Woodcock and donated to the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society (PHS).
Research and restoration phase.
The house was listed on The National Register of Historic Places.
The house opened to the public for tours and occasional programs under the auspices of PHS.
PHS began the process of finding a new owner for the house.
The house was transferred to The South Kingstown Land Trust.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
– Edward Everett Hale