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John and Thomas Goddard House

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1748. 81 Second St.

The home of the famous colonial Rhode Island cabinetmakers, father and son, this and an adjoining shop originally occupied the site of the Sanford House (NE17). They were moved in 1869, and the shop was destroyed in the 1950s. An old drawing in the Newport Historical Society shows the Goddards' two-and-one-half-story, four-bay gambrel as it existed on Washington Street, with a two-and-one-half-story barnlike, gambrel-roofed ell serving as a shop behind—much as neighboring Washington Street sea captains and merchants conducted business in their backyards. The comfortable middle-class modesty of scale and ornamentation of this house vis-à-vis the big merchants' houses on Washington Street reflects differences in wealth and social scale. The central chimney permits the customary corner fireplaces in the two major rooms, front and back, which contain fine but simple paneling as well as an unusual curved stair. So much is to be expected of a cabinet-making dynasty, one of whose pieces (a blockfront desk, designed by Thomas, of a monumental furniture type invented by his father, John) sold at auction in 1989 for over $11 million.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "John and Thomas Goddard House", [Newport, 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, 525-525.

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