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These two technically Italianate houses by the same architect, Alpheus C. Morse, built contemporaneously across the street from each other, show the usual approach to the street’s topography. The rectory (144 Benefit), on the west side of the street, is entered at ground level where there is a fully exposed basement in the rear, while Humphreys House (147 Benefit Street, pictured here) places the principal story one level above ground level, a nod to the stylish urban row-house form, and takes advantage of this posture to achieve considerable monumentality with an impressive staircase and full-length drawing-room windows. Gothic architecture was most closely associated with churches in the mid-nineteenth century, so the rectory’s Tudoresque hood molds over the windows minimally allude to the occupation of the occupant.

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

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