Smithville Seminary

Also known as: Lapham Institute, Pentecostal Collegiate Institute, Watchman I
Institute Lane, Scituate, Rhode Island


Lapham Institute

1. Historic American Buildings Survey, from lithograph in possession of the Rhode Island Historical Society, FRONT ELEVATION.

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


Designed by architect Russell Warren for the Rhode Island Association of Free Will Baptists, the institute opened in 1840 as a school with a curriculum grounded in literature and science. It accepted male and female students, both day and boarding students, until 1850 when the school was sold. Between 1850 and 1974, the building hosted religious and vocational schools, camps, and a hotel. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS RI-291)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 1978
Reference number
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Education; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Church school; Educational related housing
Current function
Multiple dwelling
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1825-1849
Significant years
1839; 1840

Update Log 

  • December 21, 2017: New Street View added by Brian Bartlett