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Ellis B. Pitcher–Lyman Goff House

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c. 1845. 1881, remodeled. 58 Walcott St.

When built for a cotton-mill owner, this Italianate house was tightly limited by the porch across the front, the block behind it, and the flanking one-story wings in line with its front elevation. Its roof was then hipped and topped by an octagonal cupola. Bracketed eaves at two levels and forceful corner pilasters for the wings underscored the contained nature of the house. In the capitals of the porch columns, the mix of Egyptian lotus and Greek acanthus motifs indicates a response to the romantic interest of the Greek Revival in whatever was exotic in ancient Greek precedent. Passed on, it became a component of the Victorians' deeper and broader appreciation of the exotic. It was Lyman Goff, the second owner of the house and a partner in the cotton braiding business, who added the two-story additions to either side of the rear. One side features a portecochere, making a new entrance at right angles to the entrance from the front porch, as already seen in so many Victorian houses on Providence's College Hill. Opposite, an added two-story bay steps down to a one-story semicircular conservatory, thereby nicely adapting the mass to the slope, while providing another sign of Victorian status. Goff also redid the interior extensively to make a display of Queen Anne woodwork. Much of this still remains, especially in the entrance hall, with its fireplace, despite recent repeated renovation of the house, first as the local headquarters for the Red Cross and then for the Children's Museum, which moved to Providence in 1998.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Ellis B. Pitcher–Lyman Goff House", [Pawtucket, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-PA23.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 148-148.

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