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Condominiums (Second Congregational Church)

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Second Congregational Church
1735, Cotton Palmer, builder. 1847, 1874–1875, 1944. 15 Clarke St.

Although this former church is very much a hybrid from a series of alterations, the end result is interesting. Originally the tower projected for half its width from the front of the meeting hall, with the square stage which now exists as a platform for an octagonal bell chamber topped by a flaring spire. Shortly after Baptists took over the church in 1847, they brought the body of the building out to the street, erasing from view all of the tower except what showed above the ridgepole. It was at this time that the front received its predominantly Greek Revival aspect. When wings were added on either side in 1874–1875, Victorian ornament was added to door frames and windows. What would have been pediments over Greek Revival openings now projected abruptly as hoods, and Victorian delight in complicating simple shapes appeared in ornamental embellishment of the portal pilasters, inset embellishment of their caps, and (over the window) a fractured pediment. Finally, the bell chamber and spire disappeared in 1948. The church was derelict for a number of years. Its ultimate conversion to condominiums preserves in spanking white the ghosts of the sequence of styles that make it what we see today. But its sprawling monumental scale, together with the more compressed monumentality of the Artillery next door, provides a focus for the street.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Condominiums (Second Congregational Church)", [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, 541-541.

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