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John Slater House

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c. 1810. 16 School St.

These two Federal houses with the typical two-and-one-half-story, five-bay, central-chimney format were both moved from Green Street near the Congregational Church. The move of number 20 was part of Kendall's reshuffling of village residences to his liking. Its door has been much photographed. Although ill fitted to its elevation, it is a charmingly provincial version of the side- and fanlighted type, where the side lights are set in flanking pilasters—thereby making windowed pilasters! (The Thomas Cutler Farm in Glocester [ GL20] presents another example.) These are further ornamented in an amateurish manner: three meaningless lines below and panels with funerary urns above. The latter interrupt the simulated structural connection which should exist between pilasters and the entablature they are supposed to support. On this, too, ornament is inconsistent. The folk designer rummages through images and recollection, indulging in whatever pleases, and his pleasure at the result is infectious. Number 16, its near neighbor, is similar, but more prosaic. Its principal interest is, in fact, its plainness for the house of one of the Slater mill founders and eventual owner; John Slater's mode of living was far simpler than that of his brother, Samuel. The reasons for its removal from Green Street are explained in connection with the Dr. Elisha Bartlett House ( NS27).

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "John Slater House", [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, 245-245.

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