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Thomas Fenner House

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1677, c. 1835 and later. 43 Stony Acre Dr. (not visible)

One of the few surviving examples of postmedieval “stone-ender” construction peculiar to Rhode Island, the earliest, northern section of the Fenner House, dominated by a large stone chimney on the north elevation, originally contained two rooms, one on each story. As passed down through the Fenner and collateral families, the house was extended south of the present entrance and received a large shed dormer to the rear (west) side for its entire length. These later changes are, however, relatively minor compared to alterations of other surviving seventeenth-century Rhode Island houses and have never obscured the obvious antiquity of the house, recognized as a landmark since the 1880s. (Other stoneenders, including the familiar Clemence-Irons House [ JO3] and the Eleazer Arnold House [ LI14], have undergone much more extensive restoration in the twentieth century to return them to something like their original appearance.) The remarkable aspect of this house is its truly grand keeping room, perhaps the most dramatic seventeenth-century interior in the state. Both larger and higher than the norm, it is climaxed at one end by one of the largest of seventeenth-century fireplaces, 10 feet wide, 5 feet 8 inches high, and 3 feet 9 inches deep.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Thomas Fenner House", [Cranston, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-CR12.

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