This ample Queen Anne house, a highly orchestrated juxtaposition of massing and detail typical of Nickerson’s work, has a largely unrecognized national reputation, thanks to Broadway set designer Eugene Lee, a nearby resident. Lee used a picture of this house as the central image for the turn-of-the-century family who reside in Westchester County, New York, and play a central role in the Broadway musical, “Ragtime.” Thanks to the touring company, hundreds of thousands of people have seen the image of this house, without knowing its source. But how appropriate, for it perfectly conjures up the image of that era’s white Anglo-Saxon Protestant affluence.
The interior is organized around a large central stair-hall, a configuration that Providence has continued to prefer since its introduction in the middle of the 18th century. While the overall spatial configuration is traditional, ornamentation is up-to-date Queen Anne, enjoying the height of its popularity in the late 1880s, as seen in the elaborate two-story mantels in the dining room and front parlor. The parlor itself is enlarged from its original configuration to include the space once part of a wraparound front porch.
Arnold was the treasurer of the Rumford Chemical Works, Rhode Island’s pre-eminent late 19th- and 20th-century producer of leavening products.
– 2009 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook