Historic Structures

John G. Richardson-Sophia E. Blatchford House, Newport Rhode Island

Date added: September 7, 2010 Categories: Rhode Island House

This is one of the larger residential buildings in this area of Newport. It is a particularly handsome example of the Shingle Style.

Deeds indicate the house was built originally between 1870 and 1872 for John 6. Richardson, although little from this period is visible. A further reference in the Newport Mercury, November 5, 1870, describes, "A house for John G. Richardson on Catherine Street, 41 feet by 45 feet, French roof, to cost $11,000." The house was extensively remodeled or even rebuilt during the period of the Shingle Style, ca. 1885, for Sophia E. Blatchford. According to records in the Newport Tax Assessor's Office, the value of improvements rose from $9,000 to $15,000 between 1879 and 1889. The house was again renovated about 1919. Extensive repairs were made primarily to the third floor following a fire.

Over-all dimensions: About 50 feet by 78 feet; irregular rectangle; 2 1/2 stories.

Floor plan: The original floor plan is not visible. Various apartments are reached from stair halls located at each of the entrances. The rooms in the first floor front apartment appear to be the original principal rooms.

Stairways: The open well stairway in the entrance hall at the north front door is of a broken plan with three steps to a large landing, three more steps to a turn, and a straight run to the second floor. The stairway is decorated with slender turned balusters, a ramped molded rail, and square panelled newels. The main stairway continues to the third floor. Originally the stairway led to a large open hall on the second floor, entered through a broad archway which is now closed. A simple U-shaped enclosed stairway serves the apartments reached from the north side door. This stairway was apparently the original rear stairway.

The first floor front apartment has three fireplaces with marble or tiled facings. The one-story mantels, typical of the period ca. 1900, have finely carved details.