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Three iterations of the Italianate in brick and wood, all built at the crest of the highest hill of the city’s most desirable neighborhood, at a time when the unobstructed views west and east were spectacular. The flushboard-clad Almy house is the most intimate in scale, much more representative of the 1840s and the early 1850s. The masonry used by Binney (72 Prospect) and Owen (79 Prospect) Houses celebrates the larger scale coming into use for substantial houses on the eve of the Civil War, both designed by Alpheus Morse, Providence’s architecture of choice in the years immediately following the expatriation and death of Thomas Tefft. At the corner of Cushing Street, these three urban seats create a marvelous tableau of mid-nineteenth-century taste and architectural ambition. 

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

One of Providence’s few and certainly most captivating Italianate villas, the Almy House exploited its hilltop setting as specified by mid-19th-century advocates of this picturesque form. Imagine what the views to the west from this house would have been at that time, with few buildings or trees across the street!

The interior retains much of its original plan as well as some detailing, notably the staircase and mantels in upstairs bedrooms. What is striking here, however, is the Georgian paneling in the north parlor, installed by Mary Elizabeth Sharpe (see 84 Prospect Street) during her tenure here in the 1920s before moving across the street to her new house; is it genuine 18th-century or high-quality early 20th-century reproduction or some of each?—only careful analysis by an expert could answer that question.

Eliza Talbot Almy (1808-1886) held title to the property (see 134 Congdon Street), as did many wives of successful 19th-century businessmen (her husband was cotton broker and manufacturer Samson Almy [1795-1876]) to protect their personal property from financial risk—and wisely so, for Samson Almy had already been sued in the United States Supreme Court in 1851. After her death, her daughter, Susan Smith (1837-1917) and husband, Amos Denison Smith (1835-1912) occupied the house into the early 20th century. Like his father-in-law, Amos D. Smith was a manufacturer.

– Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook, 2013

© 2019 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved.
Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.