The plot now occupied by the William A. Taft House originally belonged to Josiah Chapin, the president of Merchants Bank. What was then 49 Hudson Street remained vacant until the purchase of the property by William A. Taft in March of 1873, at which point Taft promptly constructed his home. In August of the same year, the house was bought by John C. Harris Jr., a civil engineer, and wife, Sarah. The following owner, Celia E. Hopkins, wife of Edwin W. Hopkins, a cotton yarn manufacturer, completed renovations to the house soon after its purchase in 1877. In 1891 the city renumbered the streets in western Providence in preparation for the annexation of Olneyville; it was at that time that the Taft House was renumbered 89 Hudson Street. Over the next century, ownership of the Taft House changed rapidly. At the time of its 1994 inclusion on the Most Endangered Properties list, the deteriorating house had been abandoned and was thus entangled by legal complications.
SAVED: A year after being featured on the Most Endangered list, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) organized a neighborhood cleanup that included the Taft House. Assistance from the Providence Revolving Fund resulted in restoration of the exterior of the house. Finally, the property was purchased by a family who completed its interior rehabilitation.