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Jerry McIntyre House

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1992, William Burgin. 57 Newport St.

Shingle Style and Shingle Style Revival, roughly a century apart, here confront one another on opposite sides of the road. First, the older of the pair: a rambling, L-shaped shingled house that is among the more picturesquely sculptural in Jamestown and, notwithstanding its considerable size, has a remarkably “cottagey” aspect. Its overscaled features, as well as the many jogs in its massing and the sheltering lowness of its porches, disguise its true size. Taken together, they impart to its massing the knobby, eruptive quality of its Dumpling surroundings. Notable among these features are two tapering corner turrets with rounded conical caps, like those of Horsehead (see entry above), which again invoke windmills more than castles. Beside one of them, two dormers, different in size, the smaller set a little back of the other, jostle one another to catch the view from under shingled hoods with long appendages on either side.

Across the way modernism transforms the Shingle Style. A tall, angular box opens to the thrust of a cantilevered porch seemingly less anchored to its ledge than poised upon it. One imagines the two- or three-story plate glass screen intervening between the fireplace and the outreaching deck. Instead of the clustering of sculptured features across the way, here what one sees are the broad shingle planes, sparsely open toward the passerby, gently folded to make the box with opposed folds here and there inward to small windows which enliven the larger plane by subtle countermovement and suggest a sense of interior. They also serve in lieu of ornament, which becomes overt in the decorative but functional treatment of trelliswork and railings. True, this sophisticated interpretation of the original shingled houses of the area removes them more from vernacular building than did even the largest Jamestown houses in the past. Moreover, the vacation aspect of the houses that initially characterized this place (and still mostly do, despite much winterizing to make them fit for year-round occupancy) is also altered by houses like this. Whether or not it is open only in summer, it presents itself as the ideal permanent residence of the present: that is, one in which work is never far from leisure. If the ideal must be deferred, then this is a home for eventual retirement, in which, it is hoped, whatever work is done will peter away toward perpetual vacation. This house could be seen not as a pastiche of the summer home of the past, like so many examples, but as the type literally reborn to new life.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Jerry McIntyre House", [Jamestown, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-JA28.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 598-599.

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