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Commercial Block

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1858. School St. at Maple St.

The two-and-one-half-story Forestdale commercial block compares with two similar and larger blocks in nearby Slatersville (see NS28). In these examples plain granite piers and lintels frame a row of shops, with red brick walls above (now painted white at Forestdale). If smaller than its Slatersville equivalent, the Forestdale version is more complex. It is actually two buildings fused together. One, with its gable end fronting on Main Street, provides an excuse for a stepped screening wall to mark the corner as the partial false-fronted climax of the building. The other, also gabled and slightly recessed, turns its flank to Main Street, with dormers punched into the roof slope. Whereas the front elevations are brick above the granite-piered storefronts, the Maple Street elevation is wholly of random stone. Nice, too, is the contrast between the flush granite capping of the storefronts and the patterned play of light and shadow in the brick corbeling which marks the cornice horizontals overhead. For a village building this one has surprisingly sophisticated lessons to teach about making a center, marking a corner, and giving the prosaic a touch of monumentality.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Commercial Block", [North Smithfield, 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, 243-244.

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