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Thomas A. Tefft (for Bowen, 389 Benefit Street) and Alpheus Morse (for Hoppin, 383 Benefit Street), offer a wonderful juxtaposition of form and architectural attitude in two contemporaneous masonry Italianate houses built for rich clients. Bowen’s is literally the textbook example of a mid-nineteenth-century house inspired by fifteenth-century Italian Renaissance city palaces and, as such, has been extensively illustrated and analyzed. And for such a didactic purpose, no doubt, its rather unimaginative handling is appropriate. As solid, straightforward architecture it probably also seemed an eminently suitable domestic setting for cotton-manufacturer Bowen (1800-1869). But such stolidity must have stupefied his flamboyant neighbor across the street, artist Thomas F. Hoppin (1816-1872), whose property is filled with drama. For his elaborate spread, Hoppin called on Morse, who like Hoppin himself recently returned from a grand European tour, where they probably became acquainted. Their European experiences played a role in developing this bolder design, inspired by English exemplars that both knew first hand. Hoppin, scion of a wealthy China Trade family with numerous other artistic members, had just married Anna Almy Jenkins, granddaughter of Moses Brown, when they began to build this house. It stands on the site of her family home, built by John Innis Clarke and destroyed by fire in 1849; she was one of the only two family members to survive. After Hoppin’s death, the family rented the house to several governors, and the coruscant reception for President Hayes in the late 1870s gave the house the name “House of a Thousand Candles.”

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

The picture shown above is of 389 Benefit Street, the Tully D. Bowen House.

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© 2023 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.