The house at Clouds Hill was built as a wedding gift for Elizabeth Ives Slater on her marriage to Alfred Augustus Reed, Jr. The home passed from Elizabeth to her daughter, Helen, on to Elizabeth’s granddaughter, Anne, and finally to her great-granddaughter, Anne. Anne is the current owner and graciously invites you to visit her family home which is also a museum.
The home was designed by William Walker & Sons, designer of many Rhode Island buildings, including most of the armories. Fireplace surrounds were carved by Charles Dowler, who came to the United States to produce arms for the Civil War; today some of his pieces are in other museums. Visitors from around the world have found this house to be one of the best examples of Victoriana, “surpassing even the Bellevue Avenue manors in terms of authenticity of its contents”. The family had the forethought to keep all of the records of the building of the house and the purchase of its contents. A few of the notables in the family line include Roger Williams, Zachariah Allen, Samuel Slater, and Anne “Nancy” Allen Holst, first female fire chief in the world.
In addition to the architecture and interior of the house, other collections include textiles, with family articles dating back to the 1870s; porcelain, including the dinner set used by Elizabeth and her family; carriages, including a gypsy wagon from the mid-1800s; “Nancy” Allen’s fire truck and much more. The property on which the house sits has been referred to as the West Bay arboretum.
Clouds Hill is dedicated to the education and enjoyment of the people of Rhode Island and beyond, our mission shall be achieved through the preservation, and interpretation of Clouds Hill, its collections, and grounds. Our goal is to continue to inspire learning by supporting the education of our local, national, and international visitor.