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Freewill Baptist Church

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1820, Clark Sayles. 1866, basement story and forward stair tower. 582 Putnam Pk.

Essentially this is the typical Wren-Gibbs church as filtered through the Federal designs in Asher Benjamin's handbooks. Its approximate original appearance is apparent from Clark Sayles's nearby building for the Free Will Baptists at Chepachet (see GL05). As there, the tower once rose from a pedimented frontispiece which projected from the main body of the meeting house. The tower styles are identical: a tall, windowed box for a base, stepped back to a belfry (here with clipped corners), and a small octagonal transitional element to the spire. The later raising of this meeting house on a brick basement story for parish house functions and the consequent stair enclosure in front of the frontispiece encumbered the building's facade but elevated the spire to a better command of the enlarged village. The interior has been altered several times.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Freewill Baptist Church", [Smithfield, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 253-253.

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