The Cranston Historical Society has owned and maintained the Joy Homestead (circa 1770) since 1959. Joy Homestead was its headquarters until the acquisition of the Governor Sprague Mansion in 1969.
The original part of the homestead is the small one room building where Job Joy and Rachel Westcott raised their ten children. Their son, Samuel Joy, later built the larger addition that can be seen from Scituate Avenue. Both Job and his son were shoemakers and the latter was a currier and tanner as well. Samuel also owned a water powered mill across the street. Over the years, this mill produced many products including grist, lumber, cloth, yarn, felt hats and cider. The area became known as Joy Town and was an early industrial center for Cranston.
The homestead is now a red, gambrel room house of ten rooms and a deep cellar. The central chimney provides three fireplaces on the first floor and services the parlor, the dining room and the keeping room which has a fourth fireplace with its own chimney on the southern end. The first floor also includes a small bedroom and a borning room which is now used as a kitchen. The second floor has two master chambers, one with a fireplace and closet. There are also two smaller chambers.
The Joy Homestead witnessed General Rochambeau and his 5,000 soldiers as they marched on Scituate Avenue on June 18, 1781 on the way to join General George Washington in the Battle of Yorktown during the American Revolution. The federally designated W3R follows this path.
Generations of the Joy family lived here up until the last member of the family sold the house and many acres of the surrounding land to Henry Knight in 1901. He in turn sold the homestead and the land to Albertus Colvin, a dairyman. Colvin divided the property and sold the Homestead to the Cranston Historical Society in 1958.
For over 30 years, the Joy Homestead has been the site of the Cranston Historical Society’s educational program for Cranston’s third graders. In the fall and spring months, students and their teachers are invited to visit and take part in colonial activities such as spinning, weaving, fireplace cooking and playing with wooden toys.
The Joy Homestead is open to the public for special events such as Christmas Open House (first Sunday in December) and Rochambeau’s Strawberry Biscuit Tea (June 18th). It can be toured by appointment or rented for a family or organization’s events. Please call 401 944-9226 for more information.