Marshall Woods, who married into the Brown family and was active in the affairs of Brown University (eventually as treasurer), was also involved on the building committee for St. Stephen's Church—thus this Upjohn commission. The house, designed in a Neo-Renais-sance style, is probably better known as the residence of Rhode Island's long-time United States senator Peter Goelet Gerry (1917–1929 and 1935–1947). The exterior of the three-story brick building is almost abstract in its reductivist geometry, but with a bowed centerpiece on its east elevation for the handsome new front entrance installed in 1931. Its appearance today somewhat belies the original configuration, with combined pedestrian and vehicular entrance centered on the south elevation. The central stair hall terminates on the north with a transverse stair rising to the east. A row of three rooms (now used for gallery space for student exhibitions), arranged en suite, lined the west side of the building, each communicating directly with the terrace to the west, perhaps the earliest example in Providence of siting a large house on an elevated site to exploit the view to the west. On the east side of the hall are a parlor on the south and the new pedestrian entrance, through a circular vestibule with saucer-dome ceiling; the effect here is of the T- or L-plan hallway system introduced during the mid-years of the nineteenth century, but here a retrofit rather than an original treatment. (Such complex circulation systems were more typically simplified in the mid-twentieth century, as in the James Kimball House [ PR129].) The formal terraced garden, now informally planted, is far more wooded than originally intended.
You are here
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.