Asa Potter House in Kingston, Rhode Island | House For Sale
George Washington slept here. So did Marilyn Munro and her husband, Joe. No, not Joe DiMaggio. Sorry. We’re referring to Joe Munro (with a “u” and no “e”), current owner of the historically important Asa Potter House.
The house is on Kingstown Road in the village of Kingston, which is part of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. And, yes, Joe and his wife, Marilyn — whose parents in 1936 became only the second family to own this house since 1739 — were married for many years, had three sons (now with families of their own), and had lots of laughs over their names.
Actually, many years ago, their names briefly made them world-famous. It seems that their son Jay came into the world in the backseat of a car — Marilyn’s mother’s brand-new Olds — hastily pulled over at the corner of Dean and Fountain streets in Providence. When the police filed their report of this unexpected but happy event, the Providence Journal got wind of it (and got the story slightly wrong). Their headline: “Baby Boy Born to Marilyn Munro and Joe in a Taxi in Downtown Providence.” The Associated Press picked it up, and within a day it had gone worldwide.
We laughed about all of this last spring while sipping coffee in front of the brick fireplace in the kitchen, located in the comparatively small “old” part of the Asa Potter House, built in 1739, as opposed to the “new,” much larger part, built in 1820. Across from us were Joe, now 78 and living alone — Marilyn passed away last year — and one of his sons, Chip (born in a hospital elevator), a well-known former restaurateur and currently a real-estate agent. Chip will continue to live in the Asa Potter House with his wife, Heather, and a grown son, Chip Jr., until it’s sold.
The Munros are asking $649,000, which seemed a bargain to us, especially when you consider the historical significance of the place, the excellent restoration work (currently nearing completion), the value of its one acre (including a separate building lot in back) in Kingston, and, well, simply the charm of this four-bedroom Georgian. It has two and a half fully restored, modern bathrooms; five lovely old fireplaces; a kitchen (old but up to date equipment-wise, including custom oak butcher-block counters); a sunny living room with impressive woodwork and moldings (seen throughout the house); and a dining room with French doors opening onto a wrap-around porch.
The expansive lawn is filled with old trees, including a huge horse chestnut, and lined with old-time granite hitching posts. And the widow’s walk railing all around the main roof area is truly charming. Although they probably wouldn’t be included in the asking price, the home’s dozens of 19th-century photographs of Indians and cowboys, collected by Marilyn’s grandfather and only recently discovered in the house, are alone worth many thousands of dollars. (Maybe that’s something to dicker over.)