Author Looks at Watch Hill's Design

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Cottages at Watch Hill, RI, and The Ocean House Hotel, from a early 20th century postcard.
Cottages at Watch Hill, RI, and The Ocean House Hotel, from a early 20th century postcard. Photo Credit: Archives, Rhode Island Sec. of State

As with Newport, Rhode Island's Watch Hill became a storied resort in the late 19th-early 20th century, a place where some very famous names (Andrew Mellon, Henry Ford, Clark Gable) built summer houses or simply vacationed to escape the summer heat of New York, Boston or even Hollywood. With the privacy of its peninsula location, Watch Hill allowed its residents to build their sprawling summer getaways ("cottages") just the way they wanted them. From these, a particular style evolved. Author Richard Youngken chronicled the design elements and elegant details that make up this resort's signature feel in his book, "Watch Hill Style," which he discusses on Jan. 23 at Southport's Pequot Library. A preservation planner, Youngken was commissioned by the Watch Hill Conservancy to catalog its "architectural gems" and to delineate how these historic buildings define the locale's particular architecture. Wendy Nicholas, Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office, described "Watch Hill Style" as “a luscious book that perfectly captures the visual delights of this treasured place.”
Richard Youngken was until recently an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He has participated in several historic preservation research projects in New England and New York, including, in the Adirondacks, a National Register survey of Great Camps. His other work includes surveys of Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs, NY, Preston, Hallville, North Stonington, East Lyme, and New Britain, CT and other Rhode Island locations.
Youngken is also the author of several books and films, and has helped plan revitalization projects for downtown Westerly, RI and Newport, RI's Broadway Revitalization Plan. His talk at Pequot Library takes place at 4 p.m. and is free. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase. For more information, visit the Library's website.

Have you ever visited Watch Hill, Rhode Island? Let us know about your travels there by posting below.

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