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About this Property
Since 1905, the Darius Goff house housed aging seniors and the staff of Weeden Manor cared for them. After 105 years caring for the community, Weeden Manor closed. After its closure, the owner, the Pawtucket Congregational Church, emptied it of valuable artifacts and sold them. One of the most prominent artifacts was a stained glass window the Goff commissioned in 1893 from Louis Comfort Tiffany. Goff had been exposed to Tiffany’s work while he was National Commissioner from the state of Rhode Island at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The window was titled “Peony” and fetched just under a million dollars at a Christies auction in December of 2010.1
The news story below mentions that a local antique dealer was going to sell the window, with much of the proceeds going back to the church who sold it in the first place. We are not sure, but are intersted, in how much the church got and how much the antique dealer got from the Christie’s auction sale.
Public tax records show that the building was purchased for $325,000 in 2012 — far from the million dollar assessment in 2010. Trulia and Zillow list this property as a 12 bed, 5.5 bath, 9,000 square foot home. We believe it to be apartments or condominiums.
Darius Goff (1809 to 1891) was a young entrepreneur and founder of Union Wadding and the American Worsted Company.
In 1833, at the age of 24, he and his brother Nelson purchased the Union Company Cotton Mills in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. As early as 1836, he had considered buying and selling cotton waste, which up to this time had been thrown away, to make wadding. He partnered with George Lawton and the George Lawton Company was formed and occupied the site that would later become Union Wadding.2
By 1847, the Union Wadding Company, under Goff’s control, processed cotton waste into a wadded form that was usable by paper mills, and then sold this wadding to paper mills to be made into paper. By 1861 Goff began the manufacture of worsted braids, first under the name of the American Worsted Co., then in 1864 under the name D. Goff & Son, with his son Darius L. Goff as partner. Later in his career, Goff created a process to produce mohair plush for upholstery, becoming the first manufacturer of plush in the United States in 1882.3
From the National Register nomination form for the Quality Hill Historic District
Darius L. Goff House, now Weeden Manor Rest Home (c. 1890): A 2 1/2-story, Shingle Style house on a large, beautifully planted lot with a later, but stylistically-related carriage house attached to it by means of a two-story bridged section passing over the carriage drive. It was built for a highly successful manufacturer of worsted braid and mohair plush.
In the News
Stripped Down Weeden Manor Is Going On The Open Market
by Ethan Shorey
Valley Breeze | March 3, 2010
Its valuable artifacts mostly removed, the former Weeden Manor on Quality Hill is going up for sale. A price had not yet been set as of Tuesday for a Walnut Street mansion valued by the city at more than $1 million, but a representative for the long-time assisted living center said a real estate company has been chosen and the sale process will begin this week.
“The (plan) is to offer it on the open market,” said the Rev. George Peters, pastor of the Pawtucket Congregational Church, now meeting in Lincoln, that owns the building. “It will be listed shortly.”
A month after The Valley Breeze reported that Weeden Manor would be closing as of Feb. 2, many of the artifacts and antiques that filled the historic structure have now been removed. The expensive Tiffany stained glass window that once held a prominent place on the left side of the building is now up for sale at a local antique dealer. A professional appraiser has placed values on the window and many of the other art pieces and antiques previously contained within the manor’s walls, according to Peters.
Some residents have expressed concern in recent days at what they see as the dismantling of the historic structure’s interior, most notably the window. Buildings like Weeden Manor and the Read-Ott mansion up the street should be preserved as much as possible, say some in the city, or one day historic Pawtucket as it is will be lost.
“Quality Hill residents take pride in their historic neighborhood, as evidenced by its beautiful turn-of-the-century homes,” said city resident Patricia Zacks in a letter to the editor in this week’s edition of The Breeze. “I would think that the church or any other independent institution does have an implied civic and historic responsibility to the city.”
When told of the comment, Peters countered by saying that his ultimate goal is to do what is best for the financial future of the Pawtucket Congregational Church, which merged with and moved to the Sayles Memorial Congregational Church in Lincoln this year. He indicated that church leaders will not seek to impose any restrictions as part of a sales agreement beyond those a buyer would be subjected to by the city under a religious land use “religous mdl. 94” designation, or as a historic building.
“The reason (Weeden Manor) closed is because it was no longer serving the community,” said Peters.
As for the Tiffany window, he said, it was “too valuable an asset to leave” for the next owner of the Weeden Manor building. The window has been replaced by another window in the same style as the building’s other 100 windows, according to Peters.
First opened in 1905 as the Elizabeth Higginson Weeden Home for Indigent and Infirmed Females, the Weeden Manor housed hundreds of the area’s senior citizens over the years.
Quality Hill residents would certainly take interest in what happens next to the stately mansion located on the old Darius Goff homestead, as many have worked to rehabilitate beautiful historic homes of their own in the neighborhood. Joe Asermely, who lives across the street, and other members of the Quality Hill Neighborhood Association have expressed concern about what might be next for both Weeden Manor and the Read-Ott mansion.
After 105 years serving the community, Weeden Manor and its 12-member staff officially concluded an around-the-clock work schedule on Monday, Feb. 2.
Valued at $1.03 million today, the former Darius Goff House was built in 1890, according to a Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission survey. City tax records show that it was built in 1920.
With a maximum capacity of 14 residents, keeping Weeden Manor afloat over the years had been difficult, according to its former director, Sharon Burrill, but the task became nearly impossible when the number of tenants there decreased to just five last year.
Though there were few major reinvestment initiatives undertaken over the years, when projects like the replacement five years ago of all 101 windows were needed, it placed an added strain on already tight finances, Burrill told The Breeze prior to the assisted living center closing its doors.
Christie’s auction house website, captured November 13, 2021 from https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-5392385 ↩
“Pawtucket Past and Present, being a brief account of the beginning and progress of its industries and a resume of the early history of the city,” printed for the Slater Trust Company, 1917 ↩
Wikipedia, captured November 13, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_Goff ↩