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Main Street Houses

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1750s–c. 1860

At 495 Main Street is the ample, center-chimney Thomas Wells House ( HO9.1; c. 1785), set back from the road behind a picturesque picket fence. The Spicer House (c. 1810), at 491 Main, continues the five-bay, center-entrance format, but here with paired interior chimneys suggesting a plan more spatially sophisticated than those of its center-chimney neighbors. Across the street, at 496 Main, is the General George Thurston House ( HO9.2; c. 1750), also center-chimneyed but with a remarkably broad five-bay facade, whose pairs of windows flanking the later Greek Revival entrance huddle together, leaving large amounts of blank wall space.

By far the most visually compelling of the village's houses is the Thurston-Wells House ( HO9.3; c. 1820 and c. 1860, although the plaque asserts 1848), 485 Main Street, long the home of the politically active Thurston family, who counted several lieutenant governors. The side-hall-plan main block, with its semi-elliptical fanlight over both principal entrance and side lights framed by thin pilasters, is formulaic Rhode Island Federal, but the mid-century remodeling by carriage maker Augustus Wells introduced bracketed wide eaves and the large belvedere whose domineering scale and large, round-arched windows make the building somewhat top heavy. Wells also built the barn at rear, enlarged in the twentieth century by one-story additions, to accommodate his carriage business.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


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William H. Jordy et al., "Main Street Houses", [Hopkinton, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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