This house was probably built as an investment property. Church was a real-estate speculator who owned many rental properties in this part of Providence in the early 19th century. It was rented to tenants for much of its early history.
Like so many others in the neighborhood, this is a small house, and its size, plan, and detail are consistent with its early history as a rental property. The house is simply finished on the outside and inside, and its plan, still evident on the second floor, originally followed the five-room, center-chimney floor plan in use in Providence for at least a century before this house was built; in fact, by the 1820s that plan was falling from favor, though still used in modest houses like this. The narrow front hall and stairs suggest the limited means of the house’s intended inhabitants, and the presence of cooking fireplaces on both first and second stories suggests that this was a two-family house.
— 2008 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook