The Night Watch Cottage

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The Night Watch Cottage


This is the Night Watch Cottage, so-called, which is being used by the State Hospital for Mental Diseases to house employees . This building was a part of the original Alms House which ante-dated by many years the State Infirmary which was known as the State Alms House. A part of this structure was used on the grounds of the present State Infirmary grounds as a domicile for inmates, but was finally abolished.
The lower floor of this building was furnished for the residence of 'the Assistant Superintendent of the State Hospital' for Mental Diseases, F.B. Jewett, M.D., who with his wife and son lived in quarters therein until the death of his wife which occurred there. Shortly after the death of Dr. Keene, superin­tendent, Dr. Jewett was appointed Superintendent of the State Hospital, and moved up into the second floor of the so-called now Staff House.
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, "The Night Watch Cottage," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #804, (accessed December 15, 2018).