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Joseph Fletcher House

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1890, Stone, Carpenter and Willson. 1911, wing off southwest corner. 19 Stimson Ave.

Like the same firm's Klapp House on the corner ( PR139) and the Waldron House behind it, this is another brick-based, slate-topped Queen Anne design, although the colonial mix in the others hardly exists here. But more like the Potters opposite, Charles Fletcher, president of the Providence Worsted Mills, wanted a touch of mansion grandeur for this house, which he built for his son. Hence his architects mixed what can best be called Scottish Baronial touches into the prevalent Queen Anne vocabulary. As in many works by this firm, however, the principal interest of the exterior is less its style than its forceful shaping. Semicircular bay windows at the ground floor subtly shift to polygonal bays upstairs. Arched dormer hoods boldly project off stepped bracketing. Most daring is the giant gabled overhang on the side elevation toward the street embracing both second story and attic. Although largely supported on a downstairs bay window projection, the overhang appears to thrust from sinuous lion'shead brackets. Skewed off the top of this gable, a piquant jerkinheaded bay tucked under the ridgepole enlivens the larger form in the pretty and intimate manner which substantially accounts for Queen Anne charm. An extra-large lot and the sideways siting of the house, so that its porch overlooks an expanse of lawn, also contribute to the grandeur.

The lavish interiors (not open to the public) in an eclectic range of period styles are among the finest to have survived in the city from their period: Louis XV parlor, Italian Renaissance library with tooled leather walls, and Tudor dining room, all elaborately and exquisitely carved, and set off by marble fireplace facings in varied colors. They open from a central, cross-axial entrance hall with its own fireplace, which is Queen Anne in character, with some allusion to colonial. A splendidly expansive stair with a giant stained-glass landing window of an autumn landscape in the browns, tans, and ambers of the interiors, lightened by clear glass, completes the entrance hall.

Finally, a tall, hip-roofed carriage house vernacularizes the forms of the dwelling in the sculptural manner of the same firm's stable behind the Klapp House, here less coy in aspect.

Opposite, at 30 Stimson Avenue, the Frederick Condit–William Benedict House (1884) exemplifies the older Queen Anne manner of the high, angular, exposed-frame variety, beautifully maintained but a bit spoiled by the infill of much of its original porch. Built as an investment by Condit, it was purchased by Benedict, an oil dealer.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Joseph Fletcher House", [Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-PR143.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 111-112.

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