Save This Old House: Cranston’s Nathan Westcott House is Back on the Market
The historic 1770 house still needs saving.
The Nathan Westcott House, one of Cranston’s oldest surviving farmhouses and a National Register plaque house, can’t take much more of this.
In August of 2016, the red clapboard cottage was sold to Staten Island resident Li Qiong Zheng (who promptly re-sold to her corporation, Ko and Zheng Realty Inc.) for $80,000 cash, according to city records. A month and a half later, Zheng was arrested on charges of conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act. She was indicted in 2019 in connection to an illegal grow operation out of a raised ranch in Coventry and, around that time, the Feds seized the Westcott House from her possession, too. (Zheng is a fugitive from justice, per a spokesperson for the office of United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman.)
This old house, friends, had been gutted to its core. No walls. No first-floor ceiling. No second floor at all. Insulation stuffed in the chimney and faucets reconfigured for irrigation. Foil on the walls and windows. The neighborhood may have been founded by pre-Revolutionary farmers, but at least they kept their grow operations outside.
In September of 2019, the government sold the house to a local real estate rental group, NPM Realty LLC, for $100,000, per city records. And, in November of last year, it returned to the market once more — still an empty shell of its former self.
“The interior is a blank canvas,” says Carole Scaralia of Albert Realtors, who is representing the seller.
Exterior updates would need to be approved by the local historical commission, but interior renovations would not. Scaralia says the roof seems to be updated and the setting — 7,280 square feet and right next door to the historic Joy Homestead Museum — is pretty. There’s also a detached two-car garage and a cute shed out back. She adds that she’s shown the property to a few interested parties, but hasn’t had any bites to date. It’s being offered as-is and requires a sewer tie-in.
“Once they get in, it becomes a little overwhelming to them to do all the work,” Scaralia says. “It’s down to the studs.”
Old New England houses can survive a lot: weather, critters, bad 1980s renovations. But there’s one thing that’s harder to come back from: long-term vacancy. Won’t somebody save this old house? Take a look: