The Jones House

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The Jones House


A double tenement cottage facing Pontiac Avenue and the State Hospital. It was built and owned by Henry A. Jones, M. D., who rented this home to the employees of the State. One occupant was Dr. Sartwell, and the other a store keeper. It was purchased by the State from Dr. Jones who gave the State an option on the property in 1925.
The lot of land on which this building is erected was pur­chased first from Jonathan King by an inmate of the State Hospital for Mental Diseases whose paranoid delusions were considered harmless. He bought this lot and erected a very small building thereon into which he moved a niece and a daughter. They, being disturbed by the clamor of the State Hospital front of them, and the faces peering through the fence at them, became more or less concerned for their safety and removed themselves to the City of Providence . The inmate, Mr. Smith, being thus deprived of social relationships, moved back again into the Institution, and the shanty became a rendezvous for hospital employees. It was a public nuisance and a menace to the adjoining property because of fire and was purchased and incorporated into this present structure.
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)
Accession 2015-28


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, "The Jones House," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #803, (accessed November 17, 2019).