American trade prospered during the years before the War of 1812, and Bristol flourished, its original town core filling in rapidly, especially around State Street, the broad thoroughfare that led from the harbor to the Town Common, where these three houses were built. All were designed and built by Russell Warren, and all are variants of the same type: a two-story, five-bay Federal house with a center hall. These houses are among his first works and depict him at the moment of his transition from builder to architect. They are distinguished by splendid woodwork, including the spiral staircase and late colonial fireplaces of Warren's own house, but with the stylistic conservatism of an artisan just coming out of his apprenticeship. The richest of the three is the Van Doom house, with its extraordinary slanted quoins and intricate two-story Doric frontispiece. Here, in the jaunty arrangement of panels and pilasters, Warren gives an early inkling of his powers of imagination. He moved here in 1813, a sign of his growing wealth, remaining until 1823, when he left Bristol.
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Russell Warren House
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