John Martin House, Barrington


The eastern section of the John Martin House at 127 Massasoit Avenue, Barrington, built c. 1680, as one of Rhode Island’s two-story stone-enders,  originally consisted of only a few rooms. Around 1750, the house was enlarged to a five-bay plan on the west side. Research shows that the second floor was used as a ballroom to entertain guests.  The Martin family was among Barrigton’s most prominent, owning several hundred acres of prime farm land. The family lived in this house from the time it was built until 1863. The house is currently privately owned and the interior cannot be seen. Click on the map below to locate the house.

[From the Historic and Architectural Resources of Barrington, RI report] “The original part of this house is the oldest surviving structure in town. The east end was built as a 2-story house with a brick and stone end chimney to replace an earlier house burned in King Philip’s War of 1675-76. Captain John Martin II enlarged it to us present 5-bay facade in the mid-18h century. . .

“The house is probably the most quintessential example of the Colonial house in Barrington: a two and one-half-story, gable-roof structure with a prominent center chimney, simply framed center entrance, and symmetrical facade. . .

“The Martin family were among the town’s earliest families. John Martin bought land near Hundred Acre Cove in the 1670s and built a house which was burned in King Philip’s War. . . Charred beams in the north corner of the cellar allow for intriguing speculation that this may be the site of that first house or that perhaps materials from his first house were reused for this structure. About 1750 John Martin’s son John expanded the house. Known as Captain John, he served in the American Revolution with his sons Samuel and Benjamin. The Martins were farmers and two large barns and several outbuildings formerly stood on this property. The property stayed in the Martin family until its 1864 sale to John Bowden of Providence, who sold oysters.”

Top image of dance hall, Martin House. Bottom image of mounting block, Martin House. Date on back 1678. [Providence Public Library]

Click here for the Historic and Architectural Resources of Barrington, RI report.

Click here for the Zillow description of the house.

Click on the Google map below for the location of the house.