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Wistar Morris House

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Highland
1884–1885, attributed to Charles McKim. 195 Highland Dr. (visible from the water)

This Shingle Style house is less conspicuous than Horsehead because it is lifted on a rock outcrop set farther back from the water in the midst of heaving terrain, the vacation outlook for another prominent Philadelphian, the author Wistar Morris. More conventional than its neighbor across the road, Highland is organized with cross gables at either end of the entrance elevation. They intersect a steep, double-pitched hipped roof which is punctured by dormers and tall brick chimneys. One of the cross gables descends to a low, bracketed hood roof expansively projecting out from a Dutch door. A deep, broadly arched porch, lined with white clapboarding to brighten its shade, projects off the opposite side. Continuing across the rear of the house, the fall of the land lifts the porch over a brick basement story to a panorama up the bay (making the rear of the house its true front).

The attribution of Highland to Charles McKim depends mostly on his use of Dutch door entrances and the broad arched porches of his early Shingle Style houses as well as, and more importantly, on a certain reticent equilibration and authority in the handling of the elements of its massing that disciplines its picturesqueness toward classical equilibrium. No documentation supports the conjecture, however.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Wistar Morris House", [Jamestown, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-JA24.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 596-597.

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