Two substantial houses, built five years apart for a partner in the city’s first department store, document rapid change in the architectural taste that occurred in the late 1870s and the early 1880s. The first house (this one, 478 Broadway) shows the fragmented massing and the composition typical of medieval-inspired houses, like that in the exactly contemporary Ballou House (390 Broadway), here calculated to create a strong street presence through its siting and scale. Walker & Gould were the architects for this house, as they had been for the store Downtown just three years earlier and would be again for its remodeling in 1892. So surely documented satisfaction with the Walker firm suggests that the Troups also engaged it to design their new Queen Anne house across the street (477 Broadway). The compaction of massing and the more unified roofline, which was just coming into fashion in the early 1880s, distinguish this house with only the candlesnuffer-roof tower, a favorite motif in the nineteenth century’s last two decades, emerging from the mass.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture