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Ernest Tinkham House

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1880–1882, 1902. 169 East Ave.

This imposing Queen Anne mansion invokes, as immediately as any in the state, the image of Victorian mill ownership at its most lordly. Lifted a little above and away from the mill on a piece of Sweet's Hill, it proudly displays itself at the far edge of a deep oval lawn framed by magnificent trees. It is at once remote from the highway and conspicuous when viewed from it. Up to the roof, it is handled fairly plainly, despite the puff of its amplitude by a generous porch and porte-cochere. The rhetoric of power erupts above: an open turret, a dormer, and a gable, side by side. As treated here, these three features epitomize four stylistic influences which coexist in architectural details during the Queen Anne interlude of the 1880s; Victorian, exotic, Neo-Colonial classicism, and vernacular. The turret is Victorian in its aggressively plastic quality, mingled with the exoticism of “Saracenic” openwork around the elevated circular porch as a kind of aerial gazebo and in the inflated quality of its beehive or bell-shaped crown. The dormer, as a broken scroll pediment, heralds the taste for Neo-Colonial classicism during the American Renaissance to come, although the pediment motif is also bloated in the Victorian manner. Finally, the gable, like most of the house, is shingled vernacular, pulling the grandeur back to a level consistent with houses in the rest of the village.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


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

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