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Central Street Houses

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1880s, 1890s. 40, 45, 49, 50, and 60 Central St.

Central Street was platted in 1867, but most building occurred between 1880 and 1900, so the street provides an overview of the kinds of cottages built on good-sized lots which characterized upper middle-class housing during the height of Narragansett Pier's popularity as a summer resort. Numbers 40, 45, and 49, which represent the first phase of cottage building at the Pier, were all built for Charles E. Boon, a Providence dealer in drugs, dyestuffs, paints, and other chemicals, who sold this business to go into real estate in Providence and Narragansett Pier. Number 40, Idlewild (1869), a one-and-one-half-story mansarded villa with curved mansard surmounted on three sides by a balustrade, lost its original porch with jigsaw ornament to a Tuscan-columned replacement. It was among the first summer villas specifically designed as such. Number 50, the Brander Matthews House, known as Shingle-nook (c. 1887, George A. Freeman, Jr.), is a plain, shingled, hip-roofed house with a generous veranda on two sides supported on turned, cigar-shaped posts. Matthews, a professor of literature at Columbia University who was also a playwright and freelance writer, wrote an article on summer life at the Pier for Harper's Weekly in 1906. The best of the cottages on the street is number 60, the Emma B. Carver House, formerly named Kabyun, now Sonnenschein (1884–1885), an eclectic mix of Stick Style framing, chalet jigsaw ornament, and typical Queen Anne wall cladding.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Central Street Houses", [Narragansett, 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, 369-369.

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