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Naval Reserve Armory

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1891. 2 Church St.

Bristol's mightiest building, this armory was built for the local Naval Reserve Torpedo Company, a division of the Rhode Island Militia. Its construction is itself a history of the changing fortunes of the Bristol harbor. It dominates Warehouse Point, at the southern end of the port, and was originally developed in 1810 as Long Wharf, a bold speculative venture which involved five brick warehouses. Within eighty years, the complex had been demolished, and this stupdendous Richardsonian essay took its place. Built of random-coursed granite ashlar, heavily rusticated, and rising to a defiant machicolated cornice, it is a familiar type among America's armories of the late nineteenth century. But such buildings are almost always on landlocked urban sites, and to see an example—whose details derive from Italian palazzos—in a Venetian waterfront setting is oddly pleasing. The building was renovated by the WPA in the mid-1930s, although that work was interrupted by the hurricane of 1938, after which the building was decommissioned and acquired by the town.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Naval Reserve Armory", [Bristol, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-BR42.

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