George M. Bradley House Bethany Graber
St. Martin Hall

Built between 1850 and 1855 by Providence architect Thomas Alexander Tefft, this Italian Villa style stone building was originally the main residential structure on the Charles. S. Bradley Estate, and is now a piece of the Providence College campus known as St. Martin Hall.

Form & Structure:
Henry Austin, Morse-Libby House, 1859
Henry Austin, Morse-Libby House, 1859

The George M. Bradley House is a revivalist Italian Villa, a style that was popular in the mid-nineteenth century. Many buildings quite like it appeared in other similar residential areas, such as the Morse-Libby House in Portland, Maine (Roth, p. 186-187). It currently stands two and a half stories high and is asymmetrical, and the left side is topped with a gable tower. The center piece of the building is set back from the sides, and has an arched entryway with side lights and an elliptical fan light window above the large double doors. The center entryway is subsequently mirrored directly above the doors in the form of a Palladian window and the right side of the building has a prominent pediment to supplement its lack of height in comparison
An angular view of St. Martin Hall
An angular view of St. Martin Hall
to the tower. The divisions of the floors is clear through the use of windows, which on the first two floors are all in line horizontally across the building’s façade, with a similar set on the third floor on the left hand side. The second floor’s windows are treated with balustrades to further define the separation of the first and second floors. Due to the asymmetrical form of the building, it looks different from different angles. From the right side it looks taller and there is a porch wrapping around the first floor, from the front the multiple levels are clearly visable, and from the left the building appears to have minimal ornamentation.

The design of the building was done by the architect Thomas Alexander Tefft, who was born and raised in Rhode Island. He studied at Brown and did a significant amount of work on both private and public buildings throughout Providence. He personally designed the building under the conditions and requests of its patron, George M. Bradley.

The building was commissioned by George M. Bradley to be the main residence on the Bradley estate. The Italian Villa revivalist style that he chose was popular at the time, and this evoked the nostalgia and comfort the Bradley's desired for their home (Providence College Archives).

Between 1911 and 1913 the Bradley estate was divided up and sold, with major pieces of the land and its properties going to the Bishop of the Diocese of Providence at the time, Matthew Harkins. He opened Providence College in 1917 as a Catholic Dominican institution, and in 1926 renovations began on the George M. Bradley house under architect Ambrose Murphy to make it a suitable dormitory for Dominican students, and it was renamed Guzman Hall in honor of St. Dominic Guzman, the founder of the Dominican Order of Preachers. With the renovations the building then had a wooden one story dining hall, a three story wooden living quarters, a chapel, an administrative office, a kitchen, a study lounge and study hall. However when the function of the building changed, most of these additions were eventually removed.

Eventually the Dominican students were moved to Aquinas Hall in 1940, and the building began to take on a series of different uses. It was used as housing for the summer session of Religious Teachers (Sister’s College), all female residents practicing to be religious sisters, and it was used as a dormitory for the football team during pre-season training in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and eventually when the new Guzman hall was opened in 1962, the building was renamed again as St. Martin Hall in honor of St. Martin de Porres, and Dominican brother from the sixteenth century from Lima, Peru, known for his physical strength and subsequent gentle humility, the patron saint of social and interracial justice. Currently the building serves as Providence College’s Office of Institutional Advancement, with some interior adjustments to accommodate its contemporary function. In 1978 a large bronze statue of St. Martin cast by sculptor Thomas M. McGlynn, O.P. was placed in front of the building to enforce the building’s new and now current name (Jackson, Providence College Archives).

William Bailey House 1848

The building was originally in a rural residential setting on the Bradley Estate, and remains still in a rural area of Providence but is now a piece of the Providence College campus. The building itself is unique to its current environment as the majority of other buildings on campus are primarily brick, but is similar to what was originally the William Bailey House and is now Dominic Hall, which was also originally a residential building, and is also made of stone.

The unique style and material of this building in comparison to its current surroundings on the Providence College campus evoke the sense of nostalgia that the revivalist style hoped to convey. It remains as a historic piece amongst newer buildings providing a glimpse into the area's history before the college was built. It shows that at the time it was built there was an appreciation for its form in its detailing and imitation of the Italian Villa, and it also shows that the current culture it exists in today appreciates its history and beauty in that it remained as the campus built up around it.

It maintains a nostalgic representation of the Italian Villa, although no longer being used as a domestic structure it still holds the quaint feeling of the original Bradley house. Its stone façade and exterior ornamentation make it stand out amongst the monotonous brick structures across the campus, providing a little piece of history within Providence College.

Works Cited

Jackson, Jane M. Martin Hall. September 6, 1984. Providence College Archives.

Maine's Victoria Mansion Looking Fabulous at 150. December 5, 2008. <>

Roth, Leland, American Architecture, A History. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 2001.

St. Martin Hall at Providence College. December 5, 2008. <>

December 5, 2005. <>