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Codman House

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1870, 1875, George Champlin Mason, Sr. 42 High St.

In 1870 Boston's unmarried Codman sisters, Catherine Elizabeth and Maria Potter, commissioned this house from the Newport architect George Champlin Mason (1820–1894). Like many who built in Bristol after the Civil War, they seemed to view the location as a kind of suburb of fashionable Newport. In 1875 they were joined by their brother Henry, who was given a tower addition to dwell in, preserving decorum.

The Codman house is in the spirit of Mason's Newport work: in massing, a severe cubic block enlivened by a mansard roof and sprightly piazza, in plan a strictly symmetrical center-hall composition, with asymmetrical accents provided by bays and turrets. Such blocky masses were intended to be offset by a picturesque planting scheme, a feature that hardly ever survives, but here the landscaping is exceptionally well preserved. Likewise, the house is in remarkable condition, retaining its mansarded carriage house, much of its interior decoration, and even its tufts of iron cresting. There is no finer Second Empire house in Bristol. In 1984 it was converted into condominiums and renamed Codman Place.

Nearby are several other notable mid-Victorian houses, including the Lemuel C. Richmond House (1856), at number 41, an octagon house with several later additions. At number 64 is the house of John Brown Herreshoff (1870), another Second Empire house with a fine portico, built to loom above his boat works.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Codman House", [Bristol, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-BR27.

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