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Borden Watson Farm

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c. 1802. 305 North Main Rd.

Job Watson transferred these acres, once the central portion of Governor Hutchinson's 592-acre farm, to his son Borden. Borden in turn built the present house on the property. Although it is a five-bay house like that built slightly earlier by Thomas Watson, a greater formality appears in the enframement of the entrance by pilasters and pediment (however basic their treatment), in contrast to the simple framing in the former house. The splayed lintel blocks over the ground-story windows are in similar contrast to the plain frames for those in Thomas's house. As in his brother's house, the central upstairs window here is narrower than the rest (four-over-four versus six-over-six for the remainder). The near collision of the apex of the pediment against the sill of the window above, the lessening of the space between the centered and flanking openings, and even the larger windowpanes (typical for the developing Federal style) all diminish the tension felt in the distribution of openings across the front elevation of Thomas's house in favor of a more equilibrated design. Even the axial road straight to this house, as opposed to the wavering approach, following the contours of the land, to the Thomas Watson House before it appears in an oblique view, is a shift toward a more formal control of design in both site and house—but at the cost of some physical intensity.

Most of the land around the house went in the mid-1980s to the Nature Conservancy. The house, sometimes referred to locally as Hodg-kiss Farm, remains in private ownership and is not open to visitors.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Borden Watson Farm", [Jamestown, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-JA10.

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