Normal attrition and redevelopment have left few Federal houses in Pawtucket. The twicemoved Starkweather House, considered to be the largest and finest in the city in its day, is one of them. Its front boasts an exceptional amount of quoining—not only at the corners of the elevations, but around the windows as well. The capping of first-story windows by deep lintels of rustication surmounted by projecting moldings suggests a possible influence from the Joseph Nightingale House in Providence (see PR96.3). If such excessive and robust quoining and rustication were a bit old-fashioned for the Providence house, built in 1791, they were more so for this later one. The same can be said of the heavy character of the entablatured entrance porch, made heavier by its parapeted balcony, onto which opens a floor-to-ceiling Palladian window at the center of the second story. Only the arched fanlight over the door and the urn finials on the parapet posts suggest the lightness of handling and certain specific motifs which would characterize the Federal style. Whatever the sources for this facade, clearly its owner intended high visibility for his success as carriage builder, storekeeper, and local politician.
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Oliver Starkweather House
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