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William B. Spencer House II

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1869–1870, Augustus Truesdale(?). 11 Fairview Ave.

Having built one handsome house, William Spencer stylistically updated his living arrangements by building another uphill and next door, in the then more fashionable Italian Villa manner, with a particularly fine two-storied, arched-windowed frontispiece united by a sequence of balconied porch, bracketed roof, and undulant canopy. (Did he remarry?) Although the architect of the house is unknown, Spencer contributed the land across the street and possibly some funds for the Phenix Baptist Church, also in the Italianate style (1860, following plans drawn by a Connecticut architect, Augustus Truesdale—and demolished for a modern structure in 1978). The similarity of style suggests that Truesdale may have been the architect for the house. It later became the residence of Robert Reich, first manager, and eventually president of the mill. The scale of the granite blocks of the stepped retaining wall in front of the house and the rolling, S-shaped step of its capping are also remarkable, although other instances of this kind of walling make it appear to have been a standard rather than a custom design.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "William B. Spencer House II", [West Warwick, 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, 327-327.

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