Forty-Eight Years of Historical Preservation
- Sprague Mansion
- Joy Homestead
Chairman of the Board
email to President Robert Carosi
List of Officers
Genealogy Books we have!
- Men in Uniforms Curator's Photos from our Archives.
- MEMORIAL DAY REMEMBRANCES
Sprague IV ANCESTORS
Mystery Plant on Elmwood Ave...Revised on May 17th1998.
Visit my Message Board:
CRANSTON COMMUNITY FORUM
Cranston St, Cranston, RI
Sprague Mansion at the corner of Dyer Avenue and Cranston Street is the
home and headquarters of the Cranston Historical Society.
house was built by William Sprague in 1790 and remained the family homestead
for several generations. Farming was their only interest.
in 1808 after machinery for spinning cotton was invented, the Spragues
converted a small grist mill into one of the first cotton mills in New
England. This was the beginning of the "Sprague empire."
A & W Sprague Company was one of these and was located on the present
site of the Cranston Print Works. Its manor system in those days was duplicated
in many other Sprague communities that were dependent on them for a livelihood.
the years the Sprague enterprises sprung up everywhere and ultimately consisted
of nine mills,including the Baltic Mill in Ct., The Quidnick Mill in Anthony(Coventry)RI, Augusta, Me, Cranston Mill, Cranston, RI, the Natick Mill, and Arctic Mills
in West Warwick, RI.,The Flat River Mill in Coventry, RI, the Central Falls Mill, RI and another mill in Coventry, RI. The older William Sprague III is credited with giving Arctic it's name. He thought the area was cold as an Arctic wind.
The Sprague's controlling interest in many industries, and five banks, the Cranston Savings Bank, the Globe National Bank, National Bank of Commerce, the Jackson Bank, and the Arcade Bank..
with the family fortune, the old house grew. In 1864, a second section
of the house was added by Colonel Amasa Sprague, brother of Governor William
Sprague known as the "war governor". The family produced two
governors who were also United States Senators. The home with its beautiful
gardens became a center of social life in the community and a show place
in the state.
a generally weakening economy following the Civil War, and heavily dependent
on credit, the great "Sprague empire" gradually crumbled, leaving
only the Mansion as a symbol of its lost dynasty.
old homestead was later acquired by the owners of the Cranston Print Works
and served as a home for its superintendents.
Abundent with Rhode Island Corporate History, Judical History and American Civil War History, still the wrecking nearly destroyed a major part of Rhode Island history in 1966 when the city of Cranston made plans to demolish the mansion and
build a 10 story housing complex. The Cranston Historical Society, with
private donations, the pennies of school children, and a bank loan purchased
it for $100,000. The Historical Society then restored it much of its original
elegance and is now much in demand for cultural civic activities. The Cranston
Historical Society still supports the upkeep of the Sprague Mansion and
the Joy Homestead mainly from the contributions of the public and receives
no monies from the State of Rhode Island or the City of Cranston.
throughout by gifts and items on loan, the Mansion hold relics of the Sprague
family and the merchant princes of their era. The grounds include a large
carriage house and extensive gardens of exceptional beauty.
The Sprague Mansion is a living museum depicting the lifestyle of two of
Rhode Island's former governors. It is used extensively for civic meetings,
weddings, receptions, flower shows, etc, on a rental fee basis.
organization or individual interested in renting the Mansion should call
Mabel Kelley, resident manager at 401-944-9226.
tours are available anytime, and may be arranged at 401-944-9226.
Adults $3.00 and children under twelve $1.50.
Scituate Ave, Cranston, RI
Cranston Historical Society has owned and maintained the Joy Homestead
since 1959. Joy Homestead was its headquarters until the acquisition of
the Governor Sprague Mansion in 1969.
through the years Joy Homestead was owned by Henry Knight(1901) and Albertus
in western Cranston where three generations of the Joy family lived, the
Joy Homestead is an excellent example of 18th century construction.
is a red gambrel roofed house of ten rooms and a deep cellar. The central
chimney provides three fire places on the first floor. The second floor
has two master chambers, one with a fireplace.
house has many distinctive features historians consider fascinating.
Joy Homestead has recently undergone extensive repairs and renovations.
It is now available on a rental basis, for gathering of not more than thirty
for preparing light refreshments are available. For more information call
the Cranston Historical Society at 401-944-9226.
to the following new Members:
Mr. and Mrs. Brock and Lisa Bierman of Cranston, Rhode Island
the next meeting: .
us at the meeting Tuesday,May 19th at 7:30 at the Sprague
Mansion. We will have a mystery guest!!
Just come in the front door and pull up chair, then join
us for refreshments of pastries and coffee or tea. There is no charge for listening to our speakers.
For anyone interested in the 1843 murder of Amasa Sprague, the murder which changed the capitol punishment laws in Rhode Island,
recently found in our collection of artifacts is the original drawing of the murder map drawn by S. B. Cushing back in 1844.
Please let curator know if you'd like to see the "real thing." You can visit a replication of the murder map.
For the under construction story of the Amasa Sprague murder.
The Cranston Historical Society is a private non-profit group and is not supported by any state or local governments.
Only the hard work and donations of our members and volunteers keep the
Mansion and Joy Homestead afloat.
NEW MEMBERS WANTED, sign up now!
"Governor Sprague's Grandmarch"
Visit my Message Board:
you have questions or comments or just want to say hello please feel free
to email the President or curator of the Cranston Historical Society, Governor
William Sprague Mansion. We like US mail too. Write to the Curator, Sprague
Mansion, 1351 Cranston St, Cranston, Rhode Island 02920.
Visit these other Sprague/Chase related sites:
of Fugitive Slaves, Salmon P. Chase
Historical Society Pages:
Westerly Armory Restoration
Who we proudly trade links with:
A site about the UNIVERSAL WINDING COMPANY OF CRANSTON in the 1940's
RHODE ISLAND BESTLINX HISTORY PAGE
Cranston Print Works
Some useful links for research about Cranston and Rhode Island
City of Cranston Community
Rhode Island Historical
Records Repositories Directory Historical and Preservation Societies
for Rhode Island Libraries
Rhode Island Historical Society:
110 Benevolent Street, Providence, 401-331-8575
Tues.-Fri. 9-5., Sun 1-5.
This Museum of Rhode Island history features changing exhibitions that
focus on the state's rich historical experiences.
Rhode Island Historical Society Library
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Hours: Tues-Sat 9-5, Sun 12-4
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e-mail the webmaster.
This page was updated on May 17th 1998.
The author is a member of