The block of Cooke Street between Manning and Benevolent contains one of the best collection of Colonial Revival houses in Providence – and perhaps anywhere, given Providence’s affection for and abundance of that style. The Huntoon House (63 Manning), at the southwest corner of Cooke and Manning, is a suave design by Jackson, Robertson & Adams with equal emphasis on both street-front elevations. This architectural firm, headed by a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, excelled at programmatic precision, urbanism, and revivalism, all of which reach full realization in this Federal Revival house. The Wood-Ward (56 Cooke Street) and Bliss Houses are subtle variations on the high-shouldered, gambrel-roof theme that illustrate this prescriptive form’s remarkable wide range of decorative choices for porches, wall trim, windows, and dormers. Across the street, the Richmond House (41 Cooke Street), yet another architect’s home, shows a hip-roof alternative with the simplest treatment, a no-nonsense reflection of the attitude taken by one who specialized in mill design. The Smith-Greene House (37 Cooke Street), built by manufacturer Amos D. Smith for his daughter Hannah and son-in-law Edward A. Greene, was given a Colonial Revival facelift by Stone, Carpenter & Willson, hence the somewhat vertical proportions and the narrow paired windows – remnants, no doubt, of its original mid-century appearance. The dormers’ fussy scrolls that break the cornice are quite delightful. The Merriman House (38 Cooke Street) across the street, by Stone, Carpenter & Sheldon (the successor to Stone, Carpenter & Willson after the deaths of Stone and Willson, the firm’s pivotal designers), is competent Colonial Revival but lacks the freshness of earlier designs, telling testimony to the loss of the strong design influence that Stone and Willson obviously exerted.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture
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