I am on a Colonial Revival style kick lately, so bear with me on this recent span of posts on houses in the style! This estate house is an earlier example in Providence, built in 1892 for Stephen Olney Metcalf (1857-1950) a multi-millionaire who was in business in woolen textiles and insurance before diversifying his portfolio further serving as President of the Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin. To make an architectural statement, Mr. Metcalf called the renowned Boston firm of Andrews, Jacques and Rantoul to design his new residence. The oversized Colonial Revival house is an excellent example of how Revival architecture tend to be a more free interpretation of their prototypes, being larger and having exaggerated features and proportions. In his will, Stephen O. Metcalf bequeathed this residence to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), an institution his mother helped found, and his daughter served as President. The mansion remains the RISD President’s House to this day.
Colonial Revival House
Henry Samuel Sprague House // 1902
Colonial Revival houses just exude New England charm! This house in Providence’s East Side/College Hill neighborhood was built at the turn of the 20th century in 1902 for Henry Samuel Sprague, a Providence grain dealer, for $15,000. Mr. Sprague clearly did well for himself financially as he could afford a house lot on one of the city’s most beloved streets, Prospect Street. The large mansion has many architectural details which stand out including contrasting brick and shingle on the first and second floors, a massive projecting portico covering a prominent entry, bold fluted pilasters at the center bay, and three pedimented dormers at the slate roof. Inside, this old house has some amazing woodwork and details too!
Sarah and John Tillinghast House // 1904
This stately yellow brick Colonial Revival sits on the edge of the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, and I couldn’t help but to take a few photos! This residence was completed in 1904 for Sarah and John Tillinghast in the later years of John’s life (he died less than two years of moving into this home). The house exhibits a large semi-circular portico with balustrade above, the portico is flanked and surmounted by Palladian windows with elliptical reveals. The house was recently proposed to serve as a suboxone clinic, but that was shut down by neighbors. It appears to be divided into residential units now.
Edward Aldrich House // 1902
Built next door and just a year after the Hidden Family House (last post), the Edmund Aldrich House in Providence’s College Hill neighborhood shows how stately a wood-frame Colonial Revival house can be! The property was purchased by U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator, Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich (1841-1915) who quickly sold the lot to his son Edward Aldrich, who worked as president of the Times Publishing Company and was very engaged in Republican politics along with members of his family. The Colonial Revival style dwelling was designed by Providence architecture firm, Stone, Carpenter & Willson, who were pretty prolific in this part of the region by this time. It exhibits a gambrel roof punctuated with segmental pedimented dormers along with a segmental pedimented portico over the entrance. Swoon! In his will, Edward left the property to Brown University, who apparently saw no need for the property and eventually sold it to private owners. The owners today maintain the house very well.
Walter and Kate Hidden House // 1901
I love a good high-style Colonial Revival home with big proportions and warm red brick! This example on College Hill in Providence is a great example. The 2 1/2-story dwelling is five bays at the facade with a center entrance under a hollow pediment hood with an enframement which reads much in the Palladian-realm. Owners Walter and Kate Hidden hired local architect Wallis Eastburn Howe to design their elaborate Colonial-inspired home in 1901, they moved in within a year. Mr. Hidden worked at his father’s business, and in 1875 became a member of the firm of H. A. Hidden & Sons. He did well for himself and became a member in many social and outdoors groups including the Audubon Society, the Squantum Association, the Hope Club, and for five years was president of the Agawam Hunt Club.
Robb-Kagan House // 1939
Colonial-inspired homes on Nantucket never will go away, and that is because the entire island is a local historic district! New construction, demolitions, and alterations to existing structures all need to be reviewed and approved on Nantucket, no easy task! This home was built in the inter-war period (before the historic district), when New Englanders still harkened back to the classics, Colonial homes. The house was built in 1939 for Annie Robb, and it was later purchased by artist couple Vladimir Kagan and Erica Wilson. Vladimir had a really interesting life. A cabinetmaker’s son, Mr. Kagan came to the United States at 11 after fleeing Nazi Germany with his family. He trained at his father’s New York workshop and by the 1940s was producing his own designs. One of his first orders was a set of tables and chairs for a delegate lounge at the fledgling United Nations! Meanwhile, across the English Channel, a young woman named Erica Wilson came into the world in 1928 in the town of Tidworth, England. Her father was in the military and the family moved to Bermuda soon after Erica’s birth. A drawing prodigy, Wilson “translated her drawing techniques into needlework,” Illya said. Needlework became her artistic focus and she graduated from the Royal School of Needlework in London. The duo lived in this home as a summer respite, where they could hone their artistry and skills. Their son, Ilya Kagan (also an artist, of course) also stayed in the home and still resides on the island. Love it!
All Saints Parish House // 1893
As soon as the All Saints Church of Ware was completed, work immediately began for the parish house which was to be built nextdoor. It is not clear who was retained as the architect, but it could have been Patrick W. Ford, who designed the high-style Victorian Gothic church. The design is almost the complete opposite of the church, in that the parish house is of wood-frame construction, modestly scaled, and is Colonial Revival in style. The parish house features nice proportions with its symmetrical facade, pedimented central bay framed by pilasters and the large Palladian type window at the center.
Warren Dunton House // c.1890
Much of Dorset Village was built in the early-to-mid 19th century, but there are some excellent examples of Colonial Revival and Craftsman homes and buildings. This Colonial Revival house was built c.1890 seemingly by Warren Robbins Dunton (1839-1902), who served as a Captain in the American Civil War. Captain Dunton seemingly built his home after moving the older house on the site back on the lot, building this house at the street. Great house, look at those chunky shutters that actually match the window openings!
Eva Southwick House // 1898
Okay, there is just something about this house that is so intriguing and unique and stands out among all the other (thousands) of Colonial Revival style houses I have seen. I just can’t quite put my finger on it! This late 19th century beauty was built in 1898 for Eva Bailey and Francis Southwick eight years after their marriage and after the birth of their children. It is unclear who the young family hired as an architect to design the home, but they definitely went with a loose adaptation of the Colonial Revival style in an American Foursquare form. The house has a large Palladian window and a minimal front portico supported by Doric columns.
Ernest Zeiss House // 1897
Another eclectic house in Waban is this beauty, a blending of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles under an impressive gambrel roof. The home was occupied by Ernest L. Zeiss, a salesman. Waban, which was once a neighborhood within the reach of the middle-class, has since become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in one of the most exclusive towns in the Boston metro. It is safe to say an ordinary 9-5 salesman would not be able to afford a house like this today!