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Hopkins Mills Union Church (South Foster Union Chapel)

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South Foster Union Chapel
1869–1871. 36 Old Danielson Pk. (pole 35)

The South Foster Union Chapel Society was founded in 1868 to provide a combined nonsectarian church and town meeting hall. What resulted is yet another Victorian design which bows to Greek Revival precedent. Smaller than its North Foster predecessor ( FO34), this contains the same essential ingredients, with some lessening of specific Greek allusion in detail, except that the gable is here treated as a full triangular “pediment” by extending a horizontal molding across the front elevation as its base. The gable, however, maintains its everyday pitch instead of the low pitch of a true Greek pediment, while the doubled pilasters of the cupola (borrowed from North Foster, no doubt) are here simply left as slats. Compared to North Foster, Greek allusion and vernacular exist in an easier relationship here. The vigorous framing of the doors and their sensible paneling are examples: the mundane lifted just sufficiently toward the monumental so that the entrances exist in both realms, although again the uncapped quality of these entries seems at odds with the projecting pediment overhead. The Moosup Valley church ( FO22) excepted, of all the other interiors of the Foster churches included in this guide, this best retains the qualities of the average country church of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this instance, it is not a matter of restoration, but of arrested accretion. Original pews, foot-pedaled organ, potbellied stove, and ornamental pressed metal ceiling are all part of its un-Grecian ambience.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Hopkins Mills Union Church (South Foster Union Chapel)", [Foster, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-FO33.

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