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Henry A. Dike House

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1850–1852, Russell Warren(?); subsequent enlargement and renovations; 1889–1891, landscape renovation, office of Frederick Law Olmsted. 101 Prospect St. (corner of Lloyd Ave.)

Henry A. Dike, a shoe manufacturer, occupied this house only briefly. For Providence, it is an early example of the Italianate villa, as indicated by the way in which it incorporates the simple, abstract forms and large scale of Greek Revival elements into a new vocabulary of arches, heavy balconies and brackets—all shapes more attuned to primitivistic stonecutting than to wood. The shapes make sharp-edged layers down to the rusticated, flushboarded wall. Individual parts are also aggrandized into larger shapes: the square bays and deep-set door of the first story joined to the window triplets above by intervening balconies; the arching over the second-story windows merged into a strange scalloped shape; the cornice lifted into a center pediment with no distinction between the two. Whoever designed this elevation did so with sophistication, but also with a residual awkwardness not due to lack of capacity, but perhaps to a venture into new territory. Such occurred in Warren's late work, when he moved from his long familiarity with Greek Revival to embrace the new vogue for Italianate forms. Portions of the Olmsted landscaping remain, done for Albert Harkness, Brown classics professor and father of the identically named Providence architect. It subsequently became the residence of Murray S. Danforth, whose wife, Helen Metcalf Danforth, continued benefactions to the Rhode Island School of Design as the third in the triumvirate which included her grandmother and her aunt.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Henry A. Dike House", [Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-PR127.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 106-107.

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