Here we find three distinct presences at the intersection of Cooke and Benevolent Streets. The Burrough-Aldrich House, originally a large Federal House by John Holden Greene, owes its somewhat bombastic beefiness to the remodeling done in the early twentieth century for Senator Nelson W. Aldrich by Stone, Carpenter & Willson; could the original builders possibly have anticipated its ownership by the “General Manager of the United States” when they sited it so imposingly? Since the mid-1970s this has been the administrative headquarters of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Next chronologically is the stalwart Adams House (26 Cooke Street), a sturdy, no-frills Italianate house for a cotton broker. The riotous wrought-iron canopy and porch on the south side seem a bit much, whether original or new, sort of like lace trim on a Brooks Brothers suit. Back on the west side of the street, Albert Harkness’s suave Regency Moderne confection [Elsie Coe Rice House], built for the widow of a manufacturer, is typical of the slippery stylization Harkness practiced so well. The exterior form was by the 1930s an old chestnut, but the detail is delicious; stylized bucrania (ox skulls decorated with garlands used as decoration in Roman friezes) incised into the frieze above the large and large-paned bow windows, Corinthian capitals that seem filtered through Picasso’s cubist period, and (barely visible) one of the laciest lattice porches ever – but an integral part of the overall design, in a way the Adams porch is not.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture