The Gothic Revival George Taber Cottage is one of Conanicut Park's more impressive houses. Its upscale “restoration” in 1982 may have made it too impressive by adding a second-story decked overlook above the old porch, as well as a garage with visitor quarters, which is fancifully connected to the house by a curved and roofed walkway. The porch is now L-shaped, probably the result of the restoration, because several other cottages of its vintage present a symmetrical front with a U-shaped porch interlocked with a T-shaped, cross-gabled body. (So often does this configuration recur, in fact, that it can be considered the Conanicut Park paradigm.) The pretty “Gothick” tracery of the chamfered porch posts and the ogee-pointed arching of the entrance and second-story balcony door as well as the scalloped bargeboarding of the front-facing gabled eaves recall an earlier decade (1840s or 1850s), whereas the other cottages are decked out in ornament characteristic of the later Victorian period. Were liberties taken during the restoration? In any event, the festive vacation transformation of a plain clapboard house by such carpentered ornament sets the stage for what is to come.
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George Taber Cottage
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