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Parker Borden House

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1798, 1805. 736 Hope St.

The Victorian era in Bristol was brief. Vaguely Federal houses persisted into the middle of the nineteenth century, and these threads were easily picked up a generation or so later by the architects of the Colonial Revival. Among the buildings especially prized by the revivalists was this house, built near the Thames street wharf of its owner, shipmaster Parker Borden. Borden's house showed some of the finest woodwork of the late eighteenth century, marking the local tradition for refined wood detail that would culminate in the work of Russell Warren.

Borden's standard five-bay Federal house is distinguished by its particularly ornate pedimented entrance, one of the finest in Bristol. It incorporates a semicircular fanlight over a doorway flanked by two engaged Ionic columns, and its lines are articulated by rich profiled moldings. At second-story level is a garland-trimmed Palladian window of idiosyncratic form (a feature admired by native architect Wallis E. Howe, who cribbed the motif for his own Colonial Revival work). The interior woodwork is consistently superlative, particularly the mantels and the delicate staircase, whose paneled wainscot echoes the handrail in its molded upper edge. Of special note is the rope molding in the northwest parlor.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Parker Borden House", [Bristol, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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