Lincoln’s Butterfly House on the market

Lincoln’s Butterfly House on the market

The view from the back of The Butterfly House at 700 Great Road, in Lincoln, shows the main house to the far right, with an in-law apartment at center and a garage/workshop space on the far left end.

LINCOLN – A prominent piece of local history has been put up for sale, returning the so-called Butterfly House at 700 Great Road to the market for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The home’s unique history is closely tied to other properties in the area, including the historic Hearthside House, which sits across the road. As the story goes, Stephen Hopkins Smith built Hearthside to woo his beloved into marriage, but the attempt ultimately failed. Too heartbroken to live in “The House that Love Built,” Smith constructed a series of properties across the street to live and work, allowing his brother to move into Hearthside to raise his family there.

Though Smith is remembered as somewhat of a hapless romantic, he may have had the right idea in carving out a piece of paradise across the way. The Moshassuck River runs through the backyard of the 16.7-acre property, stocked with trout every year for fly-fishing. Today, the property includes a single-family home, in-law apartment, artist’s loft and garage/barn space, set on a piece of sprawling farmland.

The property is not historically zoned or registered, offering numerous possibilities to future homeowners looking to personalize the space. The buildings were constructed as a cotton mill in 1812, and later dramatically transformed into a home in the 1950s by the Parker family.

The factory was called the Butterfly Mill, named after a stone marking in the likeness of a butterfly on the exterior of the building. It was one of the state’s earliest stone textile mills, originally powered by the river that still runs through the property. It has since been used as a factory, grocery shop, tannery, school, distillery and riding stable.

Chase Farm’s Hannaway Blacksmith Shop was formerly located on the property, built as a carriage house between 1870 and 1895. At one time, a bell tower on the roof of the property housed a bell that served aboard the HMS Guirrierre, captured by the USS Constitution during the War of 1812 as a victory prize.

In 1948, plans were put in place to open a restaurant in the building, but second-story supports had been removed in the renovation process, causing the roof to collapse during a snowstorm. George Parker considered razing the structure, according to records, but was ultimately able to visualize the industrial space as a home. He removed the entire second story and spent two years painstakingly transforming the former factory into a 17-room Colonial-style home.

It’s a marriage of history and modern living, more spacious and open than a traditional historic home, with plenty of charm included. The house features an au pair or in-law suite, a basement-floor apartment featuring a stone fireplace and exposed brick/stone walls, a library or office space, a four-season sunroom, pool and wrap-around deck. There are five bedrooms and 4.5 baths spread over three levels.

Currently listed by David Serpa of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for $1,575,000, the property also includes a “barn” that serves as an artist’s loft, workshop and six-car garage. The land behind extends to the border of Lincoln Woods and features a gated pool, deck and patio area. The grass is always green, irrigated naturally by the river.

Before they purchased the 5,730-square-foot home with the circular cobblestone driveway from the Parkers, current owners Janis and Christopher Corrigan had their wedding photos taken in the yard of 700 Great Road.

“We had our story start here,” said Janis Corrigan, who has lived at the home for just less than 20 years. “The yard is honestly just as special as the house. It is such a serene and peaceful place, but only 15 minutes from Providence.”

The Corrigans plan to downsize when they sell the home, but say leaving is bittersweet. They said they hope to see another family create lasting memories on the property, recalling with fondness many years of family and friends gathering there as their two children came of age.

“Hopefully it will belong to a family again,” said Janis. “Our kids had a blast here, and I hope someone enjoys it as much as we have. We’ve absolutely loved it here.”

A stone butterfly gave The Butterfly Mill its nickname. The stone was moved from an exterior wall of the home to the chimney after the roof collapsed. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)
This undated photograph shows The Butterfly House at 700 Great Road in Lincoln from the back, before the second story was removed and the house was renovated from a mill into a private residence in the 1950s.
The front of the house, as it stands today.