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Bliss–Ruisdall House (John Birch House)

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John Birch House
c. 1810. Fence, c. 1885, Edmund Willson. 606 Main St.

This standard Federal house, which once stood on another site nearby, is immediately noticeable for its exceptional fence—a Colonial Revival design by Edmund Willson, in which the revivalist, in a manner typical especially of the late nineteenth century, outdoes his precedents in scale and elaboration. It originally fronted one of the earliest important Colonial Revival houses in the state (1884–1886), on Nayatt Point in Barrington, designed by Willson for the textile magnate Henry J. Steere, who was also a notable early collector of colonial furniture (see Barrington introduction). It was carted off to adorn—and overwhelm—this rather plain Federal house when the Steere House was demolished. Then, too, apparently, the Neo-Colonial porch with its parapeting further camouflaged the old shell, which boasts some fine woodwork inside.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Bliss–Ruisdall House (John Birch House)", [Warren, 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, 458-458.

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