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Benoni Cooke House

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1828, John Holden Greene; 20th-century basement door and arched windows. 110 South Main St.

When the Old Stone Bank closed its doors c. 1990, it was one of the state's largest and oldest financial institutions. The bank occupied the whole or part of three buildings. The oldest in the cluster is the Benoni Cooke House, a fine and typical example of John Holden Greene's 1820s work in the Federal style, which also begins a remarkable run of buildings and a lively streetscape north to the First Baptist Church ( PR56). It is the remaining half of what was originally a pair of mirror-image houses, built for two business partners who were brothers-in-law, which once urbanely faced one another across a driveway leading to a large, well-preserved service court defined by connected outbuildings. Its twin for Isaac Brown was demolished c. 1896 for the enlargement of the bank. Almost cubic in mass, the Cooke House reflects Greene's typical approach to his larger houses. Windows in the hard-surfaced brick walls are generously proportioned and topped with flush stone lintels in a stepped shape which became something of a Greene hallmark. A square monitor tops the hipped roof. Greene's usual design would have been embellished with two stages of fretted and paneled parapeting; the removal of this embellishment here has left this house with a more severe aspect than one in which the roof is decked out as Greene intended (compare with the former Truman Beckwith House [ PR84]). A delicately detailed Ionic porch, its door elaborately sideand fanlighted, with leaded ornament and an ornamental upstairs stairhall window, complete the lacy overlay of the austere underpinnings.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Benoni Cooke House", [Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-PR47.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 62-63.

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