The Edgewood Historic District-Anstis Green Estate Plats (the District) [†] is an approximately 34- acre residential subdivision in the dgewood neighborhood of Cranston, Rhode Island. The subdivision is included in the Multiple Property Documentation, Historic and Architectural Resources of the Edgewood Neighborhood, Cranston, RI (NR listed 2009). The Anstis Green Estate Plats District is bounded by Marion Avenue (included in the Edgewood Historic District—Shaw Plat [NR listed 2013]) to the north, Broad Street to the west, Rosewood Avenue to the south, and Narragansett Bay to the east. Bluff Avenue, which runs east-to-west between Broad Street and Narragansett Bay, bisects the district. The topography is relatively level between Broad Street and Narragansett Boulevard and steeply slopes down toward the bay at Kensington Road east of Narragansett Boulevard. The streets throughout the district are lined with sidewalks and trees, and the residences are primarily detached, single-family dwellings with moderate setback from the streets. A small family cemetery, the Rhodes-Greene Lot, is located on the south side of Bluff Avenue behind 112 Bluff Avenue. There are 10 multi-family dwellings, one apartment building, and one building originally constructed as a single-family dwelling that has been converted into professional offices and apartments. Most of the houses are moderate in size, with large homes along Broad Street, Narragansett Boulevard, and Kensington Road. The majority of the houses were constructed between 1880 and 1930 and exhibit the popular residential styles of that time period, including Italianate, Queen Anne, Shingle, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman. The houses built between 1930 and the mid-1960s are typically Colonial Revival cottages and Ranches. There are also several examples of eclectic styles like Spanish Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival.
The Anstis Greene Estate Plats Historic District is laid out in an orthogonal grid, with one main thoroughfare, Bluff Avenue, running west-to-east perpendicular to Broad Street and Narragansett Boulevard at either end of the district. The orthogonal grid pattern was used throughout the Edgewood neighborhood, including the Shaw Plat Historic District immediately north of the Greene Estate. The roads are relatively wide and lined by generous sidewalks. Street plantings are sparse with open sight lines from one end of a road to the other. The moderate set-back of the houses allows for green space between the street and the buildings. There is no public access to Narragansett Bay and views are limited from the street, but the district's proximity to the water provides a constant breeze and fresh salt air.
The majority of the housing stock in the District was built between 1890 and 1930, though there are eight earlier residences: one apparently dating to ca. 1750, which was moved to the District around 1915, and seven from the 1870s and 1880s. Ten properties were built in the 1930s and 1940s, and the District was completely built out by the mid-1960s. Most of the buildings (118) are detached, single-family, wood-frame structures. There are several brick and stucco examples, but they are less common. The District also contains 10 multi-family dwellings, one apartment building, one residence that has been converted to offices and apartments, and one cemetery. All the buildings, including the multi-family residences, are between one and two-and-one-half stories tall. The lots are small, but the houses are typically set back on the property, providing space for front, rear, and side lawns; however, one of the side lawns is usually occupied by a driveway. Of the total 126 contributing dwellings in the district, 94 have associated detached garages, which are usually located at the rear of the lot and are typically wood-frame structures between one and one-and-one-half stories tall and one or two bays wide. Most of the garages appear to be original, but some were added to the properties later.
The Edgewood Historic District-Anstis Greene Estate Plats (the District) is significant as a residential subdivision representing the suburban development patterns of greater Providence, Rhode Island, specifically Cranston, between the post-Civil War period and World War II. The Edgewood neighborhood of Cranston was originally farm land that was divided between heirs who primarily created large estates fronting on Narragansett Bay. The large estates were later further divided into progressively smaller tracts, until the current grid-pattern of streets was established. The Anstis Greene Estate Plats adopted the electric streetcar suburb grid plan, integrating large and moderate-size lots in a network of perpendicular streets for the construction of primarily single-family residences. The District directly relates to Edgewood's development as a desirable suburb of Providence in the late nineteenth century and its evolution into a coveted middle-and upper-income neighborhood in the early to mid-twentieth century. The district's architecture represents its evolution through different periods with a range of residential types and styles, including a mixture of popular styles catering specifically to a property owner's preferences. The Anstis Greene Estate Plats Historic District retains considerable integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, and feeling for its associations with community planning and development and architecture. The period of significance is 1870 to 1964, representing the District's evolution from farmland to a suburban residential neighborhood. The earliest plats were recorded soon after the division of Anstis Greene's estate in 1870; subdivisions continued until 1927 and the District was completely built out by the mid-1960s. The last contributing building to be constructed in the District was built in 1964.
One property, the Babbitt-Steere House at 30-32 Marion Ave, was moved within its lot in the early twentieth century and another, the house at 1378 Narragansett Boulevard, may have been moved to its current location around 1915. In both cases, the relocations took place within the District's period of significance. Criteria Consideration D also applies to the District, which includes the Rhodes-Greene Lot, a family cemetery that contains multiple generations of the Rhodes and Greene families, including Anstis (Rhodes) Greene. The division of Anstis (Rhodes) Greene's estate in 1870 set the stage for the area's platting for residential development.
Horse-drawn streetcars, also known as horse cars, were opened on Broad Street in 1868. Horse cars ran on rails sunk into the street, which allowed for faster speeds and larger cars than earlier horse-drawn omnibuses. The horse cars aided development outside the Providence core, making areas like Edgewood more attractive to developers. The horse car rail service along Broad Street was replaced with electric trolley in 1892, and by 1894 the entire horse car network in Cranston was replaced with an electric system.
With the only public transportation line along Broad Street, and Narragansett Boulevard not completed until 1906, the lots closer to Broad Street were more desirable to the daily middle- class suburban commuter. The middle class could afford to move out of the city and have a reasonably timed daily commute to the city for work and social activities, but the need to walk to and from the streetcar line required planning of short blocks to make the trip easier. In the Anstis Greene Estate Plats Historic District, the lots fronting on Bluff Avenue are roughly 5,000 to 11,000 square feet, with 50 to 80 feet of street frontage and up to 165 feet deep. These were slightly larger than the average lot found in a typical streetcar suburb of the same period. This trend of laying out more spacious lots is also seen in the Shaw and Arnold Farm plats north of the District. Lots on the perpendicular secondary streets like Hall Place and King Avenue are smaller: approximately 4,000 to 6,000 square feet with about 40 feet of frontage and an average of approximately 100 feet of depth.
The lots at the east end of the District are larger, between 21,000 and 27,500 square feet and take advantage of the views of Narragansett Bay. These lots were more attractive to an upper-middle- and upper-class resident who wanted a larger estate. In 1906, Narragansett Boulevard was completed at the east end of the district. The homes built along the boulevard were slightly larger and occupied more sizeable lots of 4,000 to 17,500 square feet, with 50 to 125 feet of frontage.
Unlike other districts in the Edgewood neighborhood that were typically developed by no more than a few major developers, several different developers created the five major plats of the Anstis Greene Estate between 1872 and 1900, with an additional six plats by 1927. Much of the district was owned by the family of Anstis Greene and was developed in a different pattern than the Shaw Plat to the north. Larger lots remained intact until the older generations left them to their children or extended family members. Often the parcels were then sold by heirs to businessmen who were part of the growing trend of wealthy professionals investing in real estate who were not actually contractors themselves. Many of the lots were sold in smaller groups to local contractors and carpenters who built homes on speculation or for the residents who purchased the property. It was common for land to be subdivided three or four times before arriving at the current size and arrangement.
Rental homes built within the District were not as prevalent as in the Shaw Plat located to the north. This is most likely the result of having many developers creating smaller plats within the larger district. The landowners owned smaller parcels to maximize their investment, wanting the immediate income of a sale instead of the longer, drawn-out income from rental properties. Some of the houses were constructed as multi-family buildings, but the number of buildings originally constructed as single-family homes significantly outnumbered the multi-family units. The most architecturally interesting multi-family units are the two sister duplexes located at the corners of Bluff Avenue and Birchfield Road (123-125 and 131-133 Bluff Avenue). These two buildings were constructed by William W. Munroe about 1913. A string of multi- family units were built along Bluff Avenue between Birchfield Road and Narragansett Boulevard in the 1910s and 1920s, but there is only one true apartment building in the district, at 1912 Broad Street Built circa 1915, this building catered to an influx of residents who wanted to live in the desirable district at a time when many of the housing lots were already built-out. Most of the apartment buildings in Edgewood still catered to the higher-end demographic of the middle and upper-middle class residents wishing to move out of the urban center and into a suburban setting.
A lull in development occurred during the years immediately preceding and following 1900, but by the close of the 1910s interest in the area revived. This trend was most likely due to the introduction of the first affordable mass-produced automobile, the Model-T, in 1908, which allowed for a faster and more comfortable ride to and from Providence. By 1917, approximately 50 percent of the district was built upon, and by 1921, close to 70 percent of the district was occupied. By 1956, fewer than ten lots remained open.
The residences within the District, like those found throughout the Edgewood neighborhood, represent a variety of building types and styles, including Italianate, Queen Anne, Shingle, Colonial Revival, bungalow, Tudor Revival, Four-Square, and Craftsman. The majority of the houses display styles typical of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that local builders would have been familiar with; some homes combine elements from multiple styles, perhaps based on the desire of the owner. Documentation attributing architects to any of the buildings is limited; however, several of the houses, such as the Turgeon House at 1363 Narragansett Boulevard and the residence at 42 Kensington Road, appear to be professionally designed. Evangeliste Turgeon, a wealthy contractor-builder who had invested in developing the Edgewood neighborhood (see below), built his own home at 1363 Narragansett Boulevard. The Turgeon House is a large Colonial Revival style residence situated on a prominent corner within the neighborhood, is one of the largest homes in the district, and one of only six constructed of masonry.
History of the Anstis Greene Estate
In the late seventeenth century, the area between Providence and Pawtuxet Village in Cranston was a collection of farms primarily belonging to five families: Arnold, Rhodes, Carpenter, Harris, and Sheldon. These five interrelated families would continue to dominate the real estate of Pawtuxet and Edgewood until the 1870s. The only remnants of the early settlement are two family cemeteries: the Sheldon Lot (RI Historical Cemetery CR036) on Park Avenue (west of the Anstis Greene Estate) and the Rhodes-Greene Lot (RI Historical Cemetery CR035) behind 112 Bluff Avenue/
Zachariah Rhodes (1605-1665) settled on land north of Pawtuxet Village along Narragansett Bay. The "Arnold Road," which ran north to south between Pawtuxet and Providence, now known as Broad Street, formed the original west boundary of the Rhodes property. Zachariah left the property to his son Peleg Rhodes (ca. 1660-1724) upon his death. William Rhodes (1695- 1772), Peleg's nephew, inherited the property from his uncle, and in turn passed it to his son Captain Nehemiah Rhodes (1731-1801) and his wife Abigail. The property was inherited by Nehemiah's four children: Sally Rhodes Remington Greene (1765-1854), married to Jonathan Remington and later to Edward Greene; William N. Rhodes (1768-1853); Anstis Rhodes Greene (1772-1849), married to Arthur Greene (1764-1847); and Abby Rhodes Thornton (1774-1848), married to Richard Thornton. The three Rhodes sisters inherited the 73-acre farm between Broad Street and Narragansett Bay, while William inherited a portion west of Broad Street. Anstis' parcel was situated between Abby Thornton's property to the north and Sally Remington's property to the south. Anstis also received a parcel west of her brother's on Park Avenue (Jones 2009b). In 1870, Anstis' estate was divided among six heirs: Abby T. Esten, Richard Greene, Charles An, Lory J. C. Andrews, Sarah (Greene) Henry, and the heirs of Anstis (Greene) Gardner (also 1 spelled Gardiner). Bluff Avenue, originally called Anstis Street, was surveyed as part of the estate's division. Several of the parcels were replatted for residential development soon after the estate was divided, but some remained intact or owned by extended family into the early twentieth century. By 1927, the entire original estate property had been subdivided (Jones 2009b). The 1882 Hopkins atlas map of Cranston depicts the estate divided west to east by Bluff Avenue. At the west end are the L. J. C. Andrews Plat (Andrews Plat) and the Angell, Winsor, Smith, and Hopkins Plat (Angell Plat). The Angell Plat includes Division Street, later renamed Kensington Road, and two buildings that match none of the current footprints of buildings in the area. The Andrews Plat has four buildings, none of which are extant. At the opposite end of the estate are the Anstis Gardner Heirs Plat (Gardner Heirs Plat) and Sarah Henry's land (Henry's land). The 1882 map shows a stream, since filled in, that runs north-south diagonally through the Gardner Heirs Plat and Henry's land at roughly the same location of the diagonal boundary line at the east end of both properties. The Gardner Heirs Plat includes John C. Gardner's House at 1894 Broad Street (still extant). The stream divides Henry's land from Horace Handy's land to the west, which includes Horace Handy's house at 150 Bluff Avenue. There are two additional houses depicted on the north side of Bluff Avenue: the Townsend House, now 137 Bluff Avenue, and George R. Babbitt's House, originally facing Bluff Avenue but moved to 30-32 Marion Avenue in the early twentieth century (Hopkins 1882).
The 1895 Everts & Richards atlas map of Cranston depicts the first subdivision boundaries in the District. The Andrews, Angell, and Gardner Heirs plats were already subdivided and the remaining land was divided into large parcels that were given lot numbers by the City of Cranston that can be followed through the evolution of the district. The parcels on the north side of Bluff Avenue were designated, moving east to west, lots 909 through 931 and lot 1851. The parcels on the south side of Bluff Avenue were designated, again moving east to west, lots 932 through 947. These lot numbers are indicated in parentheses in the following narrative to connect the original plats with the late nineteenth-century designation. Other than the south end of Kensington Road, not labeled on the atlas map, none of the other secondary cross streets are laid out yet (Everts & Richards 1895).
n 1872, Lory J. C. Andrews was the first of Anstis Greene's heirs to subdivide his inheritance. Andrews is listed in the Providence city directories between the 1880s and 1910s as a wholesale grocer with Sherman & Andrews, later Andrews & Son, living on Greenwich Street in Providence. His parcel, known as the L. J. C. Andrews Plat (Andrews Plat), is located at the northeast end of Bluff Avenue, along Narragansett Bay (Sampson & Murdock Co. 1903).
The Andrews Plat was originally divided into seven long, thin rectangular lots approximately 100 feet by 260 feet with the narrow side fronting on Bluff Avenue. The lot on the bay, designated lot eight, was irregularly shaped and slightly larger, with approximately 175 feet of frontage on Bluff Avenue. In 1875, Andrews replatted lots seven and eight closest to the bay into four parcels approximately 65 feet by 200-275 feet with the short side fronting on the water (lots 909-912). A roadway, which would later be the north side of Kensington Road, was also surveyed as part of the subdivision. A portion of the fourth lot (lot 916) was acquired for Narragansett Boulevard, which was finished in 1906 (Howe 1872, 1875).
Between 1898 and 1911, Arthur T. Scattergood, a Providence-based furniture dealer, acquired the four lots along the bay (lots 909-912) and the majority of at least four interior lots (lots 914 and 916-919). Scattergood built his own home at 41 Bluff Avenue (not extant) at the corner of Bluff Avenue and Kensington Road. Scattergood died in 1914, and a life estate for his wife, Margaret, was created. When Margaret died in 1932, the estate was divided and sold. In 1911, Scattergood sold portions of three of the interior lots to Evangeliste and Delphine Turgeon. Turgeon owned a Cranston-based construction company E. Turgeon Construction Corporation founded in 1896, that primarily built homes around the turn of the twentieth century and is still in business. Three of his sons joined the business in 1921, followed by a fourth son in 1933. During this period, Turgeon's firm undertook larger projects, including schools and public and industrial buildings throughout Rhode Island. Turgeon subdivided the lots into smaller parcels and either sold the land or constructed homes for resale. In 1922, Evangeliste Turgeon built his Colonial Revival style home on a large lot at 1363 Narragansett Boulevard. He also developed the Bluff Avenue Plat, which was originally part of Richard Greene's property on the south side of Bluff Avenue. Lot 5 (lot 915) of the Andrews Plat was purchased by Michael M. Gardner in 1905. (It is unclear if or how Michael Gardner is related to the Anstis Gardner heirs.) Gardner's wife, Phanuel E. Gardner, acquired the property in 1907. The 1917 atlas map depicts four buildings on the lot fronting on Narragansett Boulevard that appear to be rental properties that were later subdivided and sold by Phanuel in 1921 and 1922 (Cranston 1892-2014; Everts & Richards 1895, 1917; Turgeon 2014; U.S. Census 1910-1930; Waterman 1907).
In 1873, Abby Esten's share of Anstis Greene's Estate was purchased and subdivided by a group of Providence businessmen: Horatio N. Angell, Serrill Winsor, S. I. Smith, and Horatio L. Hopkins. The leader and representative of the group, Horatio N. Angell, was a Rhode Island- born, carpenter-turned-real-estate-dealer based out of Providence in the 1870s and 1880s. Winsor was a Providence jeweler, and Hopkins was a spindle manufacturer in Burrillville. Not much is known about the S. I. Smith (U.S. Census 1870-1880).
The subdivision of Abby Esten's property, named the Angell, Winsor, Smith, and Hopkins Plat (Angell Plat), is in the southeast corner of the original Anstis Greene Estate on the south side of Bluff Avenue. Kensington Road, listed as Division Street on an 1873 plat map, was surveyed with the subdivision. Similar to the Andrews Plat, the Angell Plat comprised nine lots. Four of these were long, thin, rectangular lots 67 feet wide by 312 feet long between Kensington Road and Narragansett Bay with the short side fronting on Kensington Road (lots 932-935). Four lots 50 feet wide by 270 feet long and one lot 120 feet wide by 270 feet long were situated on the west side of Kensington Road with the short side fronting on Bluff Avenue (lots 936-939). The four large lots along the bay remain intact. Three of the large houses sited at the crest of Bluff Avenue overlooking the water were constructed in the early twentieth century; the fourth house was built in the late twentieth century. One of the interior lots fronting on Bluff Avenue (lot 939) was acquired for the construction of Narragansett Boulevard in 1896, but the four remaining lots (lots 936-938 and 940) were purchased between 1892 and 1907 and subdivided into smaller lots. The lots facing the boulevard are slightly larger than those facing Bluff Avenue to accommodate more substantial homes (Cranston 1892-2014; Chase 1873).
Except for lot nine, which is not labeled, the 1873 plat map has labels for each lot with one or two of the partners' names. Winsor and Angell owned two lots each, while Smith and Hopkins owned three lots together. Angell also owned the lot acquired for Narragansett Boulevard. Horatio Angell died in 1876 and his wife Amey succeeded him in his real estate dealings associated with the Angell Plat (Chase 1873).
Anstis (Greene) Gardner was born in 1803 in Cranston to Anstis (Rhodes) and Arthur Greene. Anstis Gardner married Warren Gardner of Warwick and had seven children, who inherited the parcel from their grandmother's estate at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Bluff Avenue. In 1874, the property was divided into seven lots owned by five of the seven children. Six of the lots (lots 926-931) were approximately 47 feet wide by 380-400 feet long with the narrow side fronting on Broad Street. The eldest son, John C. Gardner (1826-1901), owned lot one (lot 931), the northern-most lot; Henry G. Gardner (b. 1827) owned lots two and three (lots 929-930); Abby R. (Gardner) Baker (b. 1830) owned lot four (lot 928); Richard J. Gardner (b. 1831) owned lot five (lot 927); and Almira J. (Gardner) Moore (b. 1837) owned lot six (lot 926). Lot seven (lots 924-925), an irregularly shaped, 1.23-acre parcel at the east end of the property, was owned by Richard and his wife, Ann. Richard sold a small portion at the northeast corner of lot seven to Albert E. Potter in 1900. Cranston resident and real estate broker Horace F. Horton purchased Potter's parcel and the rest of the east side of the lot (lot 294) from Richard in 1901. Horton subdivided the parcel into five lots and sold them between 1907 and 1914. Richard sold the west side of lot seven (lot 925) to Ola Broadhead in 1912 (see below) (Cranston 1892-2014; Wilkinson 1874; U.S. Census 1860).
John C. Gardner died in 1901, and his wife, Sarah, died the following year. In 1901 and 1902, the west end of the Anstis Gardner Heirs property was purchased by Providence-based carpenter William E. Rowand (1850-1909). In 1902, Rowand replatted the parcels into 11 lots. Vernon Avenue (not extant) ran perpendicular to Bluff Avenue and was also included in the survey of the plat, but was converted into a right-of-way in the late twentieth century. Rowand sold two of the lots along Bluff Avenue and one on Broad Street before he died in 1909. The remaining property reverted to a life estate for his wife, Augusta. In 1910, Augusta sold the majority of the east end of the property to Ensign and Hulda Nixon of Providence. In 1913, Augusta sold lots two and three along Broad Street; lot three contains the only apartment building (1912 Broad Street) constructed within the Anstis Greene Estate. The Nixons lived at 163 Bluff Avenue and subdivided the rest of the property for sale in 1915 and 1916. The final portion of John C. Gardner's original lot at the northwest corner of the property on Broad Street was sold in 1924 (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham 1902; U.S. Census 1900-1910).
In March 1912, Richard J. and Ann Gardner sold the west portion of lot seven (lot 925) of the 1874 Anstis Gardner Heirs Plat to Ola E. Broadhead of Providence. Broadhead divided the parcel into five lots, as seen on a 1912 plat map, and sold them later the same year. Charles K. Setchel (also spelled Setchell), a Providence-based concrete block manufacturer, purchased lot three from Broadhead in October 1912, who in turn sold the lot to Anna E. Spencer. King Avenue was surveyed as part of the Setchel Plat. Setchel's relationship to the development of the plat or with Broadhead is unclear, but he ordered the plat map of the property and his name was adopted for the title of the plat on subsequent land dealings (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham 1912).
Sarah (Greene) Henry (relationship to Anstis Greene is unknown) and her husband Richmond Henry inherited a parcel of land at the southeast corner of the intersection of Broad Street and Bluff Avenue (lot 947). Sarah also owned property on the north and south sides of Park Street, which she left to her children Charles R. Henry and Adeline G. Andrews in the late nineteenth century, presumably at her death in 1886. The parcel on Bluff Avenue and Broad Street was platted in 1900 as "Plat of the Richmond Henry Land in Cranston, R.I. belonging to John T. Fearney." John T. Fearney (1850-1920) was a fish dealer with a shop, John T. Fearney & Son, in Providence. He subdivided the plat into 15 lots and included Rosewood Avenue in the survey of the plat. Five of the lots face onto Bluff Avenue and the remaining lots front Rosewood Avenue. By 1917, only the Colonial Revival style house at 172 Bluff Avenue had been constructed within the plat, most likely by John's son, Henry E. Fearney, who had purchased the lot in 1906. The rest of the lots were sold by John's other children between 1922 and 1928, including five lots at the east end of the plat that were sold to Benjamin Rakatansky in 1926 (see below) (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham 1900; U.S. Census 1860-1920).
Richard Greene (1811-1884) inherited the portion of his mother Anstis's estate on the south side of Bluff Avenue between Sarah Henry's estate and the Angell Plat. Richard was a farmer who married Phebe Williams (1817-1890) of Cranston. In addition to the parcel on the south side of Bluff Avenue, Greene also owned property on the north side of Park Avenue, where he is listed as living in the mid-to late nineteenth century. Greene had three sons: Albert (b. 1840), Benjamin (b. 1844), and Elisha (b. 1851). Richard's property along Bluff Avenue was divided into five parcels. The parcel at the west end of the property (lot 945) was sold to Horace Handy prior to Richard's death in 1884. Elisha acquired the family house on the north side of Park Avenue and a portion of the property (lot 944) on Bluff Avenue with his brother Benjamin. Elisha retained two-thirds of the parcel, which was developed into the Elisha Greene Plat in 1910 (see below). Benjamin's one-third interest remained as a single lot and was sold multiple times between 1913 and 1940. The remaining three parcels east of the Rhodes-Greene Cemetery were acquired by C. Eugene Spaulding of Providence in 1903 (lot 943); Jesse Brown of Providence in 1903 (lot 942) (later the Charles C. Hall Plat); and Loomis and Ann Wright of Providence in 1892 (lot 941) (later the Bluff Avenue Plat) (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham 1910; U.S. Census 1860-1910).
Richard's estate included the Rhodes-Greene Lot (RI Historical Cemetery CR035) family cemetery near the center of his property. Multiple generations of the Rhodes and Greene families are interred in the cemetery, including Captain Nehemiah Rhodes and his wife Abigail (Thomas), Anstis (Rhodes) Greene and her husband Arthur, Abby (Rhodes) Thornton, Anstis (Greene) Gardner, Richard Gardner and his wife Phebe (Williams), and Sarah (Greene) Henry.
Horace Handy purchased a portion of Richard Greene's property (lot 945) on Bluff Avenue before Greene's death in 1884. The 1910 plat map shows that Handy owned the property on the south side of Bluff Avenue, west of the current Anstis Street (laid out in 1910). Handy most likely built the Italianate house at 150 Bluff Avenue and sold the west end of his property between his house and Anstis Street to Joseph Lewis in April 1918. Lewis subdivided the property into five lots and sold all of them to Providence-based real estate broker Samuel Bomes between April and July 1918. Bomes further subdivided the parcel at the corner of Bluff Avenue and Anstis Street into three additional lots and sold all eight lots by 1920. Modest-sized bungalows were built on these lots in the 1920s.
Elisha Greene, a Cranston-based carpenter and contractor by trade, subdivided his two-thirds share of the property immediately east of Horace Handy's land in 1910. Elisha's plat consisted of five lots and Anstis Street running perpendicular to Bluff Avenue at the west end of the plat. Two of the lots fronted on Bluff Avenue and three fronted on Anstis Street. Elisha had only sold the two lots on Bluff Avenue before his death in December 1918. The lot at the corner of Bluff Avenue and Anstis Street was never developed and was later acquired as a side lot for the house at 120 Bluff Avenue. Elisha's widow, Adele, sold the three undeveloped lots on Anstis Street in 1923, and houses were constructed there by 1930 (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham 1910; Sampson & Murdock Co. 1921).
In 1903, Providence-based hotel proprietor Jesse Brown acquired the parcel immediately east of the Rhodes-Greene Lot on the south side of Bluff Avenue (lot 942). Brown owned the parcel until it was purchased by Providence grocer Charles C. Hall (1868-1942) in 1910. Hall sold three lots on Bluff Avenue before he created the Charles C. Hall Plat in 1925, which contained an additional five lots and included Hall Place perpendicular to Bluff Avenue. The last lot fronting on Bluff Avenue was sold by Hall in 1926. The remaining lots fronting on Hall Place were purchased by Cranston contractor Irving Lockwood in 1926, who most likely constructed the five Colonial Revival style, single-family residences soon after (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham & Son 1925; U.S. Census 1900-1920).
Prior to 1892, Loomis and Ann Wright of Providence purchased the parcel (lot 941) immediately east of the future Hall Plat. Their children sold the property to contractor and developer Evangeliste Turgeon in 1914. Turgeon was already developing lots in both the adjacent Angell (east) and Andrews (north) plats when he created the Bluff Avenue Plat on the south side of Bluff Avenue in 1914. The plat consisted of 11 lots and Swift Street perpendicular to Bluff Avenue. Four lots fronted on Bluff Avenue and seven lots fronted on the newly created Swift Street. Turgeon sold the corner lots facing Bluff Avenue and two large Colonial Revival style houses were constructed by 1921. He sold the western-most Bluff Avenue lot in 1921 but retained the lot at 68 Bluff Avenue. All the lots fronting on Swift Street, except for 11 Swift Street, were purchased by real estate dealer Arthur Rushton in 1922 and 1923 and sold by 1924. All the houses on Swift Street were constructed in styles commonly found throughout the district by 1930 (Cranston 1892-2014; Goff 1914).
In 1925, Benjamin Rakatansky purchased the five western-most lots of Horace Handy's land from Samuel Bomes, a Providence-based contractor who developed the adjacent Horace Handy land in the 1910s and 1920s. Benjamin Rakatansky was born in Kiev, Russia, in 1893 and immigrated to the United States in 1904. His wife Martha was born in Minsk, Russia in 1894 and emigrated in 1910. Rakatansky became a contractor between 1920 and 1930 and later a speculative builder, sometimes with his son Ira Rakatansky who became a well-known Providence-based architect in the 1940s through 1960s. The five lots were later integrated into the Benjamin Rakatansky Plat created in 1927-1928. The remainder of the Rakatansky plat comprised the five eastern-most lots of John T. Fearney's plat of Richmond Henry's land. Four of the lots in the Rakatansky Plat fronted on Bluff Avenue and six lots fronted on Rosewood Avenue, which was extended east by Rakatansky. He sold three of the four lots along Bluff Avenue in 1928 and 1929 and built his own home at 158 Bluff Avenue about the same time. In 1929, Rakatansky sold five of the six lots on Rosewood Avenue to Leslie B. Ballou, Jr., a house builder who became a commissioner for the City of Cranston by 1940. Ballou most likely constructed at least four of the five houses built on these lots as they are almost identical Tudor Revival style, single-family residences.
The land on the north side of Bluff Avenue between the Andrews Plat and the Gardner Heirs Plat was most likely the portion of the Anstis Green Estate inherited by Charles An in 1870. An is the only heir whose property is not identified through plat records or historical maps of the district, and his name is not listed in any local census records or directories and there is no readily available information about transactions between An and any land speculators or investors. George R. Babbitt purchased at least a portion of this property before 1882, as his name is on the 1882 Hopkins map of the area. By 1895, Silas Steere owned Babbitt's former property (lot 920). Other prominent early landowners within this parcel include Michael Morris Gardner (relationship unknown at this time) (lots 921 and 1851); Horace K. Blanchard (lot 922); and L. L. Fales (lot 923). These owners are all depicted as abutters on an 1895 plat map of Land Belonging to George R. Babbitt within the Edgewood Plat (north of the Anstis Greene Estate). After Steere's death about 1899, the property was subdivided and the individual lots sold between 1903 and 1927. The Babbitt-Steere House was originally oriented facing south at 95 Bluff Avenue, but was moved to the rear of the lot and reoriented to face north at 30-32 Marion Avenue in the early twentieth century.
The Brunswick Plat was created in 1911 by William W. Munroe, a Cranston builder, from land he purchased from Arthur Blanchard in 1910. The 1895 Babbitt plat map of Edgewood shows that Horace Blanchard, Arthur's father, owned that parcel of land, but the 1895 Everts & Richards atlas does not depict a house on the property. The plat was originally laid out with five lots on either side of Birchfield Road, which was also included in the survey of the plat. Monroe sold all the lots between 1912 and 1924 except for lot seven at 7 Birchfield Street, which remained in his estate until 1933. The Brunswick Plat contains two examples of duplex housing in the district at 123-125 and 131-133 Bluff Avenue. These mirror-image, Queen Anne Style duplexes were built by Monroe in 1913 (Cranston 1892-2014; Latham 1895; Smith 1911; U.S. Census 1910-1930).
† Adapted from: Quinn R. Stuart/Architectural Historian, Virginia H. Adams/Senior Architectural Historian, and Allison Cahoon/Assistant Architectural Historian organization: PAL (Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc.), Edgewood Historic District - Anstis Greene Estate Plats, nomination document, 2015, National Register of Historic Places, Washibgton, D.C.
Anstis Street • Birchfield Road • Bluff Avenue • Broad Street • Hall Place • Kensington Road • King Avenue • Marion Avenue • Narragansett Boulevard • Rosewood Avenue • Swift Street