Morton Cottage (1884)

Name of Owner(s): Jimmy and Wendy Ernst
Building Address: 227 Water Street
Year Erected: 1884
Plat/Lot/Sublot: Plat 6 Lot 104

Morton Cottage was built in by Hosea Q. Morton in 1884, it is known now as Star Department Store on Water Street. Hosea Q. Morton began his photography business in Providence, Rhode Island in 1876. He later moved that business into the new Morton Cottage and had a successful career there until 1903 when he sold the building.

Richard Adelbert Negus, a Block Islander bought the Morton Cottage,expanded the space and added the prominent glass façade to the front. His business from grew from just photography to include items such as; souvenirs, summer beach wear, and tobacco. By 1912, the Morton Cottage was known as the Island Department Store. R. Adelbert Negus’s primary focus was selling summer needs for visitors including photography supplies. The photography portion of the business expanded as he began producing and selling postcards with all the glass plate negatives left behind by Hosea Q. Morton. Many of the old postcards that we enjoy are today are very likely R. Adelebert Negus’s.

R. Adelbert Negus in the 1924 established the first Volunteer Fire Department. Negus also held the position of first warden for the town while continuing to have a successful store and photography business. He was known as the official island photographer from 1905-1925.

(Information gathered from Bob Downie’s Vol#1 and Vol#2 The Block Island History of Photography)


Gallery of images for Morton Cottage (1884)

Leave a Reply