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Jeremiah Smith House

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c. 1790; ell, 20th century. 42 Wilbur Rd.

The third house in this sequence (known for a gunsmith who lived here in the 1850s) is without the confusing exterior shutters which are generally additions from the late nineteenth century onward. The effect is more sophisticated than that of the earlier examples just described. Symmetry is maintained. The spacing of all elements, including the pediment, is more adroitly managed. More correctness and virtuosity are apparent in the treatment of the pilasters and the broken pediment. The fanlight in many variations (this one handsomely ornamented in lead, and doubtless compiled from catalog parts) was immensely popular during the last decades of the eighteenth and first of the nineteenth century. Hence this builder was alert to fashion. Even so, certain of past practices linger on: the clapboards narrowing toward the base of the elevation; the boxing of window frames out from the plane of the clapboards; the simple splayed boards for downstairs window lintels; and the repetitive jut of the cornice board under the eaves as the frames of the upper-story windows cut across it. Whereas the earlier elevations show vernacular tradition grappling with the impact of cosmopolitan influence, this displays an easier familiarity with modern tendencies mingled with continuity with the past.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Jeremiah Smith House", [Lincoln, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 198-199.

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