Established in 1859, Church of the Redeemer was the sixth Episcopal parish in Providence — and the fifth established in the 19th century. Now located on upper Hope Street, the church originally stood nearby on North Main Street, on the site that is now the parking lot directly in front of Whole Foods. Obviously, building a rectory was a high priority, for this house was occupied by the first rector, the Reverend Charles H. Wheeler, as early as 1862.
The house that the parish built for its rector reflects the attention to style and position that has long characterized the Episcopal Church (as a cradle Episcopalian, the author is allowed the liberty of that judgment). Located on what was then emerging as the new street of choice on the East Side, the building has a stylish mansard roof, one of the earliest in the city. The overall exterior form, with symmetrical façade and center entrance, is traditional but typical for many ample houses of the period (compare with 79 Prospect Street). The interior belies the exterior’s rigid symmetry, with a large salon across the rear at the end of the partial-depth center hall and a handsome cross-axial staircase in the middle of the north part of the building. Notice in particular the deftly integrated coat closet on the stair hall’s east wall, an ingenious solution for a tight space and necessary in a house otherwise bereft of such.
Previous owners carried out extensive restoration on the house’s interior and exterior. Current owners have built on those efforts as well as installing a handsome wrought-iron fence, designed by one of the owners, and the handsome garden at rear.
– Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook, 2013
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