A swaggering Federal house with a history to match. Bow fronts are typically found in Federal houses, especially in Boston and Philadelphia, but they are rarity here. The curving bays flanking the center entrance topped by a Palladian window are almost too expansive and seem to squeeze what would otherwise be an ample entrance. The house originally had a wood front, so what we see is a later remodeling, but probably still within the Federal era. Thomas Lloyd Halsey (1751-1838), a successful China Trader, built this probably at the height of his career. His son, Col Thomas Lloyd Halsey (1776-1855), may have added the bays when he assumed ownership of the house. The younger Halsey’s business travels took him to South America, where the lifelong bachelor fathered a daughter whose son later laid claim to his grandfather’s estate in a court suit that set Providence tongues wagging. In the twentieth century, this house was a key plot element in H.P Lovecraft’s novella “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” Lovecraft himself lived for a time nearby on Barnes Street.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture
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