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New Village Mill Housing

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1918, Jackson, Robertson and Adams. Off East Ave., including 1–19 Steere St. (odd numbers) and 1–4 and 6–12 Park Ave. (even numbers)

For a site off East Avenue, Austin Levy commissioned twenty-two Neo-Colonial houses from a leading Providence firm. It was the first of Levy's projects designed to give his village a colonial aura. Already in this tract, in 1911, along one side of Park Avenue, the preceding Tinkham dynasty had erected a row of plain, clapboarded workers' houses (1902) similar to those across East Avenue (see preceding entry). When Levy and his architects added to the stolid Tinkham quarters, they envisioned a cozier image of housing, one less institutional and more suburban in aspect. The enclave came to be known as the New Village. The newer houses are single family (instead of the typical nineteenth-century two- or four-family houses), and were doubtless designed for managerial and supervisory personnel). Basically all are simple two-and-one-half-story five-bay boxes, clapboarded, with living rooms opening onto side porches, but given a modicum of individuality by mixing gable and hipped roofs and by varying door treatments derived from various late colonial and Federal sources. Subsequent alterations have not obscured Levy's intent.

Then, built thirteen years later, the prefiguration of the newer village to come: flanking the entrance to the development are three variant versions of prefabricated, one-story, hip-roofed houses in stucco-covered, steel-plate, panel construction, as “modernized” versions of what had gone before. They were experimental models for the larger community of houses completed in 1936 (also known as New Village) which Levy commissioned for a site close to nearby Glendale (see BU13, where the qualities of these houses are discussed).

Also in this New Village enclave are a scattering of houses unrelated to either the Tinkham or Levy building initiatives: one of them going as far back as 1806, with extensive Greek Revival and later additions, which originally housed a member of the Tinkham family; others built independently in the early twentieth century. Of these, a shingled bungalow (c. 1915), at 9 Stewart Court, is perhaps the most interesting.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.

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