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Darius P. Lawton House

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1840s; porch trellising 1880s(?). Main St. (Victory Hwy.) at Gazza Rd.

This one-and-one-half-story Gothic Revival clapboard cottage in a picturesque composition of gables, dormers, and bays is ornamented with scrollwork bargeboards, a crested bay window, and a “Tudor”-capped window in the gable. (The Japanesque trellising of the side porch appears to have been a later renovation influenced by the exotic strain within the Queen Anne movement.) An unusual feature is the lack of vertical corner boards where the clapboarding meets at right angles. Surrounding the house is a rare and handsome, if somewhat derelict, example of wire and cast iron fencing, which dates from a time close to its completion.

Darius Lawton, who introduced textile manufacturing to Mapleville, almost surely, if not quite certainly, commissioned the house. He occupied it in any event, and, after him, a succession of Mapleville mill owners—Joseph Smith, James Legg, and Joseph Fletcher—all able to survey their mills and village from its hilltop site. The original one-room Mapleville schoolhouse, built in 1847, was moved to this site around 1890, after the new school ( BU2) was built, to make a servant wing for the house. Gothic Revival houses are few in Rhode Island, especially in such fine condition. During Mapleville's apogee as a textile village this was its “great house.” Immediately opposite is a fine brick duplex (c. 1860[?]), probably for managers.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.

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