The Ladd School


The Ladd School

A reproduction of the original painting.

Exeter School for the Feeble-Minded

Inkjet on canvas

1972, 2017

"In its second century the Hoxsie House weathered close to seventy-five years of history-in-the-making."

Mr. Hoxsie's Big Crop

In the shadowy realm of history, where truth intertwines with haunting tales, we delve into the enigmatic past of Mr. Allen N. Hoxsie's grand endeavor. "Mr. Hoxsie's Big Crop Is Grass" trumpeted The Providence Journal in 1907, heralding the acquisition of a hay farm along the murky banks of Queen's River in Exeter. Little did they know, this seemingly innocent farm would become shrouded in whispers of a darker nature in the early 2000s.

Allen N. Hoxsie, a man of diverse talents - painter, photographer, businessman, and farmer - reigned over this estate. But behind the facade of his achievements lay the truth: his homestead would transform into the heart of Rhode Island's singular public institution for individuals with disabilities. The once-humble abode became the nucleus around which the Ladd School grew, a place that harbored stories of struggle and suffering.

Throughout nearly three-quarters of a century, the Hoxsie House stood witness to the tumultuous course of history, before ultimately succumbing to its inexorable fate at the hands of the wrecking ball. Today, a few intrepid souls can still seek out the decaying remnants of this dwelling, hidden amidst the encroaching wilderness of the sprawling five hundred-acre farm.

A faint glimmer of hope emerged within the confines of Dr. Ladd's office, embodied by a unique painting. Warwick artist Kay Epstein, entrusted with capturing the essence of the original Exeter School for the Feeble-Minded, painstakingly brought its image to life on canvas in 1972. The frame itself, fashioned from salvaged wood from the Hoxsie House's interior staircase, holds within it a tale of forgotten lives. Rescued from the scrap heap when the institution shuttered its doors in 1994, this masterpiece now finds solace within the collection of The Ladd School Historical Society.

With deep reverence for the souls lost in the shadows, and wielding the powers of digital enchantment, we present this nearly flawless replica of Epstein's original artwork. It is our offering to a generation captivated by mystery and truth, a chance to confront the haunting legacy of the Ladd School and unravel the enigma that lies within its tangled history.


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