94 Central Street
Built in 1887 – a 2-1/2 story, gable-roofed dwelling with a side wing, a veranda, a porte-cochere, “Swiss chalet” porch and gable ornamentation, and scrolled consoles punctuating a row of four closely set windows in the front gable. It was built for John H. Shepard of New York. The term Lasata is a Native American term meaning “place of peace.”
In the late 1800’s it was rented to Michel C. Bouvier, a Wall Street financier, known as “MC,” who bought the property in 1906. He and his three sisters, Mary (also known as May), Alexine and Zinny, summered here every year until MC’s death in 1935. The arbor at the rear of the property has been in place since the Bouvier era, and they attended Mass daily, passing under the arbor to arrive at St. Philomena’s Roman Catholic Church. The Narragansett Times chronicled the arrival and departure every summer of “The Misses Bouvier.”
In 1935 the property passed to MC’s nephew, Major John Vernou Bouvier, grandfather of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who young Jackie called “Grampy Jack.” She visited her relatives here during her youth with her father, “Black Jack” Bouvier, so nicknamed for his deep tan and a swashbuckling nature similar to that of General John “Black Jack” Pershing.
For several years in the 1980’s, Lasata was owned by St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church (formerly St. Philomena’s) and used as a home for a teaching order of nuns. Two of the numerous bedrooms on the second floor contain a small sink installed for the nuns’ use.
The property was bought in 1996 by Vivian “Jerry” Palmieri, also a Wall Street financier, who set about restoring the house to its original splendor. Jerry and his wife Lelia also added extensive rose gardens which are the envy of the Pier area. The house is surrounded by over one acre of manicured lawn and many well-established flower beds, in bloom from spring to late fall. The garden is chemical-free. The antique arbor, a stone wall and ten-foot lattice fencing are adorned with white City of York and Sombreuil roses. Lasata is in the Central Street Historic District and is on the National Register of Historic Places.