The Eye @

House on the Rock

Posted in Uncategorized by eyebee on June 17, 2009

House on the Rock, some of you shipboard types have probably seen this on

Occasion. In my time in the Newport/Boston area it didn't look this good but,

Times have changed and the restoration is apparent..


Clingstone, an unusual, 103-year-old mansion in Rhode Island's

Narragansett Bay, survives through the love and hard work of 

Family and friends.



Henry Wood, the owner, runs the house like a camp: all skilled workers welcome.

The Jamestown Boatyard hauls the family's boats and floating dock and store

Them each winter in return for aweek's use of the house in the summer.



Mr.  Wood, a 79-year-old Boston architect, bought the house with his

Ex-wife Joan in 1961 for $3,600.  It had been empty for two decades.



Clingstone had been built by a distant cousin, J.S.  Lovering Wharton. 

Mr. Whartonworked with an artist, William Trost Richards, to create

A house of picture windows with 23 rooms on three stories radiating

Off a vast central hall.



The total cost of the construction, which was completed in 1905,

Was $36,982.99



An early sketch of the house. Mr.Wood is as proud as any parent of his house,

And keeps a fat scrapbook of photographs and newspaper clippings that

Document it's best moments.  Many of the historic photos he has were

Provided by the company that insured the house for its original owners.



The Newport Bridge is visible from the windows of the Ping-Pong room,

To the left of the fireplace.



The house is maintained by an ingenious method: the Clingstone work weekend. 

Held every year around Memorial Day, it brings 70 or so friends and Clingstone

Lovers together to tackle jobs like washing all 65 of the windows.  Anne Tait,

Who is married to Mr. Wood's son Dan, refinished the kitchen floor on one of

Her first work weekends



There are 10 bedrooms at Clingstone, all with indecently beautiful views.



The dining room table seats 14. Refinishing the chairs is a task

On the list for a future work weekend.



Sign by the ladder that leads to the roof reads: No entry after three

Drinks or 86 years of age.  "It used to say 80 but we had a guy on a work

Weekend who was 84, so I changed it," said Mr.  Wood, ever the realist. 

It would have been a shame to curtail the activities of a willing volunteer.




Posted via email from Eyebeemania


25 Responses

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  1. James said, on July 1, 2009 at 04:43

    Hi Guys

    Absolutely blown away by the beauty of the place and the love you have for it.

    I would love to drop by and volunteer but alas I am in bonnie Scotland. Thank you for the inspiration through dedication.

    My love


  2. Conni Bessette said, on July 5, 2009 at 10:07

    How do you sign up to volunteer?? We have family in Bristol and we are here right now. Please send us any information.

    • eyebee said, on July 7, 2009 at 10:39

      Thank you for your comments, Conni.

      I am getting some information together for you.

      Have a great day

      • Lisa & Piper said, on September 17, 2011 at 20:07

        This mom & my daughter 10 now but will be 11 in April would love to come & help. Can you send me some information too please??? =) So curious, how did the house stand against the weather of Irene? This shared experience would be a wonderful opportunity for both of us if we were considered volunteers. If you email me I can tell you more about us too. =D

  3. Jacquie McLellan said, on July 8, 2009 at 08:25

    Hi Henry,
    We have a family reunion every year and would love to know if you rent out the house. My 5 children and their spouses and children love getting together and having the time to share adventures, play board games and get away from the hectic hustle of city life. We come from Massachusetts, North Carolina and Florida. Please let me know how we can rent and help upkeep the beauty that is
    Clingstone Mansion.

  4. Ginny Sceeles Biggers said, on July 14, 2009 at 16:13

    I lived in Jamestown from 1931 until 1952. These pictures brought back
    many fine memories of “your island” and “my Jamestown island”.

  5. Jeannette Auerbach said, on July 21, 2009 at 10:51

    My family as well would very much love to volunteer at this incredible place. My father is a, “True ‘Ol Man of the Sea”…..a retired sea captain in his 70’s, who would certainly enjoy a stay at Clingstone. PLEASE send us any information on volunteering and to help make a memorable dream come true for him. Warmest Regards…

  6. MIKE HAYES said, on July 22, 2009 at 22:43


  7. […] Clingstone, an unusual, 103-year-old mansion in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, survives through the love and hard work of family and friends. […]

  8. robert phelps said, on July 30, 2009 at 18:28

    I grew up in Narragansett, and have always been fascinated by Clingstone. I now live in NYC, and am a building contractor specializing in custom cabinetry and finish carpentry. I am also well versed in roofing, and all manner of carpentry. I WANT to volunteer. Please drop me a line.

  9. Theresa Bell said, on July 31, 2009 at 07:19

    A friend of mine emailed the story of Clingstone (the house on the rock) to me and I was amazed! I would love to volunteer to keep this beauty at it’s best. Please email me information to help out!
    Thank you,

  10. Melody Jenkins said, on July 31, 2009 at 09:51

    I received an email froma friend with the story of this beautiful house and the awesome photographs included. What a story. I am interested in volunteering to help maintain this treasure. Please send me a contact and any information you might have about the process.


  11. Polly Nelson said, on August 3, 2009 at 08:53

    We’d love to work–my husband and I have extensively remodeled 3 houses ourselves and are willing to pitch in on any of the jobs needed. We spent two lweeks this past summer in Jamestown. Beautiful writeup here Thanks and please let me know how contact to volunteer!

  12. Donna Mopss said, on August 3, 2009 at 10:32

    Would love information on renting this wonderful home…………..

  13. DOROTHY HAIGHT said, on August 21, 2009 at 21:14


  14. Amie Hannon said, on August 26, 2009 at 12:35

    WONDERFUL! What is the rental fee for time at your facinating setting? We love (and do) preservation architecture. Thanks for sharing a bit of the home’s story.

  15. Tamara Knight said, on September 14, 2009 at 08:54

    Your house ROCKS! (literally)

  16. goth1856 said, on October 31, 2009 at 12:21

    …my grandfather has worked on that house along with
    many other big old places there; he was a general contractor…
    …i miss jamestown…

  17. Andrea said, on May 24, 2011 at 17:35

    I would love to receive information about volunteering time/ work at the mansion. Thank you!

  18. Carole Keala Moon said, on August 4, 2011 at 20:42

    Would you please send me information as to how a party of ten people and maybe more would be able to volunteer our services and the rental fee. We are members of a hiking club here in Honolulu, Hawaii and have involved ourselves in a number of ways towards the upkeep of our 90-year old hiking clubhouse near the beach. Thank you, Carole Keala

  19. christian phillips said, on January 14, 2012 at 09:27

    hi clingers, –
    also interested in how i (or some of my family as well) can assist in the work effort…please send me information on how to proceed…thanks!
    —– christian.

  20. hawaiianmermaid said, on March 15, 2012 at 08:07

    Hi, Carole:

    This is Mia (who worked with you at UH). Please send an email to me at I have a question about breast cancer. We just found that Wai has it and will have a surgery on this coming Saturday, 3/17/12.

  21. Nancy Jesson said, on September 11, 2012 at 12:07

    Interested in renting next summer 2013 for family reunion- fascinating house! Love the history and work weekend!

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Thank you,

    Nancy Jesson

  22. Jamale Schubert said, on October 10, 2012 at 19:43

    We are a family of 8 and would love the opportunity to volunteer and stay for 1 week. Please send us info on how and when this is possible. We would be coming from the USA and Germany:)

    Thank you,
    J Schubert

  23. Chris Pigman Lavallee said, on June 1, 2013 at 20:15

    We lost contact information for Josh and Henry Wood. Could you please pass on my contact information to them? I would really appreciate it.


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