Editor’s Note: The designer of the Edwin O. Chase House, previously a mystery, has been revealed to have been Edwin’s father – John Chase, of Manton.
With a rhythm all of its own, the Chase House presents an unusual interpretation of the Colonial Revival. Like many peers, it indulges in heavy-handed undulatory machinations of a basic cube, but the overall form and individual elements are highly idiosyncratic. The early nineteenth-century-Providence, monitor-on-hip-roof Federal house popularized by John Holden Greene inspired the overall massing; this is an exceptionally rare Colonial Revival interpretation of that form. Supporting players in this stout production are strongly angular: front porch, bay window at top center, balustrades, corner pilasters. Only the modest bay window on the west elevation introduces the sweet curving note so prevalent in this period. The designer, alas, we don’t know. Chase was a partner in the lumberyard, as the plethora of different woods used decoratively on the interior (not open to the public) proudly reveals; what, then, as a professional involved in the design and building business, was he trying to say architecturally and who did he engage to make the settlement? One of local architecture’s most fascinating conundrums.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture