BURRILLVILLE — The Esten-Bowen House on Iron Mine Hill Road has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the state’s preservation authority announced.
Build around 1790, “the Esten-Bowen house represents Burrillville’s development from a period of agricultural growth and expansion from the end of the 18th century through gradual decline and subsequent transition to exurban residential uses in the early 20th century,” said Edward F. Sanderson, executive director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission.
Sanderson said the house is also significant for its distinctive blend of construction styles and materials typical of the 18th century with updates made in the 1940s in the Early American mode.
The Esten-Bowen House was built by John Esten, who lived from 1761-1851 on a large farm he assembled in the northeastern part of town. Esten served on Burrillville’s first Town Council and later became a member of the General Assembly and a justice of the peace.
The farm stayed in the Esten family for several generations, entering a new phase when a whittled-down version of it was purchased in 1941 by Esther H. Bowen, an employee of the Amica Insurance Company.
Situated toward the back of a 32-acre parcel, the wood-frame farmhouse is a one-and-a-half-story, center-chimney residence that was typical of its era. The house is sided in clapboard and rests on a stone foundation of rubble and granite blocks.
Stone walls divide the land into farmyard, lanes and fields long grown over, along with woodlots.
Crabapple trees and perennial beds added in the mid-20th century also dot the landscape, sharing space with surviving outbuildings that include a shed and a privy.
A few stone foundations still survive on the parcel that mark the spots of other buildings that have not survived, including a large barn, several sheds and other structures, according to Sanderson.