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Jenks House

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c. 1790. 1730 Louisquisset Pk. (barely visible in winter)

This and the following three entries describe houses, built over seventy years, which employ the familiar two-and-one-half-story, five-bay, central-chimney formula in different ways. The first is visible only when the trees are bare and even then with difficulty. This has narrow windows with nine-over-nine sash and a plainly framed, transomed door. The windows in this and the other three houses are boxed out from the plane of the clapboarding in the manner which prevailed throughout most of the eighteenth century. Typically, too, the lower-story windows are simply capped; those on the upper story cut across the cornice board under the eaves in a series of juts. Symmetry, the quality which first strikes us about these houses, is often compromised, as here, to accommodate parlors with slightly different dimensions. The Jenks House was commissioned by a family prominent in the area; Daniel Jenks was especially important as a large landowner, a charter member of the Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge, and a major shareholder and officer in the company that financed the turnpike which passes his house. But the house, as now seen, is also interesting as a Colonial Revival dream, vintage 1920–1930. The severity of the old farmhouse homestead with slightly quirky “picturesqueness” has acquired the additional charm of shutters, an arched arbor of roses around the door, foundation planting, and a comfortable sprawl of additions behind. Such details speak more to the early twentieth-century romance with things colonial than to the past itself—the comfortable expansion of authentic colonial, made “livable” by a fairy-tale sprawl of wings and gardens.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Jenks House", [Lincoln, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-LI23.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 198-198.

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