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Architect Alfred Stone faced quite a challenge in designing this house for Burnside (1824-1884), who had recently returned from the Civil War and was about to begin a term as governor, followed by two terms in the United States Senate. The client wanted a large single-family house with a service wing and attached carriage shed and stalls to be built on a steep, trapezoid-plan corner lot. Like many architects before him, Stone solved the site problem by hinging the two principal elevations, here from a broad curving section around the tight corner at Planet Street. This was not the first time Stone had dealt successfully with a site like this (see Mrs Edwards Brooks Hall House). The house Burnside got is every bit as flamboyant as the eponymous sideburns he sported. The smooth pressed-brick walls are a fine foil for the luscious undulations of the wall surfaces and swooping mansard roof, and the pretty little Queen Anne oriel window on the second story of the Benefit Street elevation, probably added after Burnside’s death, only enhances the effect.

— 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

Located on the northwest corner of Benefit and Planet Streets, this remarkable house was built in 1866. At its completion in 1867, the house was described as “one of the finest modern houses in Providence.”

In 1884, the building housed the Providence Children’s Friend Society House for Aged Women and the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Children. In the latter half of the twentieth century, it was primarily an apartment building. By the time of its inclusion on the 2009 Most Endangered Properties list, this beloved fixture of the College Hill neighborhood was falling into serious disrepair. As of February, 2019, the house is still in need of attention.

© 2024 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.