The Randall-Winsor House

Dan Marusak

The Randall-Winsor House is located at 416 Eaton St. The structure was originally a very modest Cape Cod style farm house when it was first constructed in 1748. A major addition was added to the house in 1815, which added a Georgian/ Federalist Style wing to the building.

Form:
randalwinsor2.jpg
Original Cape Style Structure: West facade

The original portion of the Randall-Winsor House, constructed in 1748, is built in the Cape Cod style, which was prominent at the time. The building is typical of traditional colonial era Cape Cod Houses in that it is one and a half stories tall, features a pitched roof with side gables, a large central chimney and a symmetrical facade. The original structure most likely had a front door in the center, which may have been removed during later renovations.

randallwinsor5.jpg
Original Cape Structure: East facade

randallwinsor4.jpg
Georgian/Federal Style Addition: North facade
The Randall-Winsor House’s 1815 addition reflects the late Georgian Colonial style and early Federal architectural style. It is square and symmetrical in shape, and features a medium pitched roof with a minimal overhang. Additionally, it is two and a half stories tall, and has a gable window on the east side. The addition also has a brick chimney which is set to the right of the structure, rather than in the center.




Randall_Winsor_house_door.jpg
Federalist Style Front Door

A major feature that distinguishes the addition as a Federalist Style house is the front door. A decorative pediment style crown, with a panel of windows sits above the door. Furthermore, square columns border either side of the door frame.










Structure:
randallwinsor7.jpg
Stone foundation and wooden siding

The original portion of the house is a one and a half story, wooden framed structure, set on a stone foundation. It features wooden siding, wooden shutters, and a brick fire place. The 1815 addition is two and a half stories, and is also wooden framed, with wooden sidings and shutters. Although the windows on the house are probably not original, they feature 12 square panes of glass, which is historically accurate for period in which it was built.


Architect:
The architects of the original portion of the Randall-Winsor house, and the later additions are unknown. However, during this this time period it was common for amateur architects such as, the builder or even the patrons of the house to design the structure. This is especially true if they were modest estates, such as this farm house.

Patronage:
The house was commissioned by Henry Randall (born March 21, 1720, died June 6, 1789) and his wife, Dorothy Billings Randall (born May 16, 1727) . They bought the property from Henry's sister-in-law, and Dorothy's direct sister, Thankful Billings Randall, the recent widow of Henry's older brother, Joseph Randall. Joseph Randall had bought the farmland only two months before his death in 1747, from Moses Bartlet. The property was originally owned by Joshua Winsor, one of the original proprietors of Providence (PPS's Gowdy Files Database).

Function:
randallwinsor3.jpg
Providence Preservation Society Plaque

The property was a functioning farm up until 1974. At the time, it was the last working farm in the city of Providence. In the 1980's the property was foreclosed by the owner's bank and sold at auction. It was bought by a developer who planned to level the house in order to build new houses on the property. However, "the developer lost his money in a failed Credit Union," (PPS's Gowdy Files Database). The property was put up for auction again, and this time it was bought by the Providence Preservation Society. In 1993, the Society sold the property to Micheal and Jeanne Zavada, who made extensive restorations to the house. Although it has been sold since then, the house remains a single family private residence. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places


Setting:
The Randall-Winsor House is located at 416 Eaton St. Providence, Rhode Island, just west of the Providence College campus. When it was constructed in 1748, the property was located on the northwest limit of the Providence city line, in a region commonly referred to as Elmhurst. At the time, the area was sparsely populated, “primarily agricultural, and had little in common with commercial Providence.” In 1765, the Elmhurst area of the city actually became part of North Providence. Today, the Elmhurst neighborhood is a densely populated residential area, and once again apart of the city of Providence.

Context:
Cape Cod style homes are popular all throughout New England. “The first Cape Cod style homes were built by English colonists who came to America in the late 17th century. They modeled their homes after the half-timbered houses of England, but adapted the style to the stormy New England weather” (architecture.about.com/). The Randall Winsor house's original structure fits right into this context.

The Randall Winsor house's addition is a little harder to classify. It has elements of both the late Georgian and Early Federalist architectural styles. It is often difficult to distinguish between these two styles because they have many similar features. For example both styles feature square, symetrical facades, with central doors. However, “While Georgian homes are square and angular, a Federal style building is more likely to have curved lines and decorative flourishes,” (architecture.about.com/). Typically, American Federal houses have low-pitched or flat roofs, and feature a semicircular fanlight window, or roof over front door. It especially difficult to distinguish between the styles when they are used on modest houses, such as the Randall-Winsor house, which lack many of the distinguishing flourishes that grander mansions may have. The additions shape suggests it is in the Georgian style, while the ornate door frame and crown suggest Federal influences.

Originally developed in England, the Georgian Style was very popular in New England, and the eastern seaboard of the United States, between 1700 and 1785. As architectural historian Leland Roth explains, colonists’ “increasing wealth resulted in more frequent travel to England, and an increased awareness among wealthy colonials of what their English counterparts were doing.” As a result, wealthy builders hired skilled craftsmen to come over from England, and numerous architectural treatises and pattern books became popular during the time. All these factors increased the popularity of the Georgian style. The Georgian style eventually evolved into the more ornate Federalist style.


Bibliography:

1600s - 1950s: Cape Cod House Style." 12 Dec. 2008. 12 Dec. 2008 <http://architecture.about.com/>.

"1690s - 1830: Georgian Colonial House Styles." 12 Dec. 2008. 12 Dec. 2008 <http://architecture.about.com/>.

"A Brief History of the Randall-Winsor house." The Mary A. Gowdey Library of House Histories. 12 Dec. 2008. Providence

Preservation Society. 12 Dec. 2008 <http://gowdey.ppsri.org/>.

"416 Eaton St." Providence, RI: Assessor Database. 12 Dec. 2008. City of Providence. 12 Dec. 2008 <[[http://providence.ias-

clt.com/|http://providence.ias-clt.com/]]>.Roth, Leland M. American Architecture : A History. New York: Westview P, 2002
.