History of the
The rental of Whitehall, began a long history of various uses: teahouse, inn, coffee house. By the time of the American Revolution, it was a farm where British Officers and their servants were billeted. After 1824 it became the farm of Abraham Brown. It continued to be held by this family for about seventy five years. In the 1880’s the Brown family had moved out of the old house and built a large roomy farm house down the lane.
Throughout the years, people remembered that this house had once belonged to a famous personage. Visitors would record “nothing but a farm house.” It kept its history and its name, “Whitehall,” in spite of neglect.
In 1897 three concerned women secured “ownership” of Whitehall. They raised the money to restore it. In 1898 weatherproofing took place: roof and windows were replaced. This restoration was one of the first on Aquidneck Island. The property was then given to The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the state of Rhode Island. The Dames first opened Whitehall to the public in July of 1900.
The museum house has been faithfully cared for through the years. Original furnishings were all gone so the Dames worked to obtain furniture that would have been suitable for the period of the Berkeleys' residence circa 1730.
In 1974 The Colonial Dames obtained full title to the property from Yale. They bought the 999 year lease.
Whitehall Museum House, 311 Berkeley Ave.,
Middletown, RI 02842
This page was last modified:February 27, 2011