In its 134-year history, the estate known as Druidsdream at 144 Gibson Ave. has had only three families as owners.
Now, as current owners Nancy and Steve Richards prepare to sell the property, they are looking back fondly on memories of their time spent at the historic site.
“We’ve had so many parties here ... We’ve opened it through the years to I don’t even know how many organizations and groups. South County Tourism had meetings here, and we’ve shared it,” Nancy said during a late June tour of the home led by the Narragansett Historical Society.
The Richards have operated Druidsdream as a bed-and-breakfast for several years. Nancy’s oldest daughter was married at the house, and other small weddings have been at the home as well.
“We have family gatherings here, we do Christmas, we do Easter. We had 18 people for Easter dinner here,” she said. “It’s just that kind of a house.”
Druidsdream was built in the style of an English manor house and, like many of the granite landmarks in the area, including the Coast Guard House, The Towers and South Kingstown Town Hall, was built by a member of the Hazard family. Joseph Peace Hazard built Druidsdream in 1884. His diary recounts that he dug a well and built the home next to it, not knowing why, but that someone, someday, would need the house.
When the Richards moved to Narragansett, a friend showed them Druidsdream, and Nancy knew she wanted to own the house.
“It was love at first sight. I dreamed about it, and I used to drive down the street and look at the house,” she said. “In the meantime, a friend who was a tennis player lived across the street, and she said to me, ‘Do you know the people down at the end of the street?’ And I said, ‘No, why?’ ‘Because I see you driving down the street all the time!’ I told her I loved the house, and she said, ‘You’ll have that house one day.’”
When the Richards finally bought Druidsdream, “every inch of the house” had to be renovated, Steve said.
“All the walls, all the floors, all the painting, the roof, the siding, the exterior, we had to fix all the windows,” he said. “The grounds were just overgrown, beat. This was a bad-conditioned house. Every single inch of this house has been done over.”
Nancy added, “Everything was like a jungle. There were shrubs that you couldn’t even walk on the upper level, the shrubs in the front came all the way out, everything was overgrown. It was just an absolute jungle.”
During the recent tour, the Richards’ care for the historic home was evident. Except for the updating of the bathrooms and kitchen, and the rebuilding of some fireplaces, the house has been essentially restored to how it was in 1929, with the addition of a screened-in porch, slate terrace and bulkhead cellar entrance. The grounds have also been expertly cared for and maintained.
On the first floor, guests walk through a grand entry hall, living room, library, large dining room, butler’s pantry that leads into the kitchen, eat-in dining room, family room, office and laundry-bathroom. The second floor features five bedrooms, two sitting rooms, four full bathrooms and two large hallways, while the third floor contains a master suite with elegant master bathroom, two smaller bedrooms and a full bathroom, sewing room, office, cedar closet and four large storage closets. In addition, the home features a fully working “cage-style,” two-person elevator connecting the three floors.
Nancy said she hopes the home is acquired by “someone who will appreciate the grounds and the history of the home.”
“A Hazard property,” she said, “you don’t find them every day.”