Earl P. Mason carriage house

A relatively simple carriage house down the hill from Benefit Street featuring unique architectural details and construction

About this Property

#Redevelopment

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) acquired this small carriage house as part of their 1997 acquisition of the 296 Benefit Street apartment building and parking lot. In a 2004 open RFP for redevelopment of the property, RISD stated:

While ideally RISD would rehabilitate and develop the property for college uses, the competition for capital maintenance dollars is so great that we cannot invest the necessary funds at this time. […] RISD wishes to offer a long-term, low cost lease to a member or members of the RISD community — faculty, curators, staff, and alumni — willing to improve the building and occupy it. The lease term would be for a maximum of 99 years. RISD does not intend to sell the property.

The Earl P. Mason Carriage House appeared on PPS’s Ten Most Endangered Properties Lists in the years 2003, 2007, and 2008. The RFP remained open and several proposals came and went. Starting in 2009, basic work was done to weather-proof the structure with a new roof, window repair, paint, and brick repointing. A new permanent owner was not yet found.

By 2012, Frank Scotti and Scotti & Associates Realty acquired the carriage house and conducted a complete gut-rehab into a 1,250 sf 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome. The property was listed for sale in 2014 at a little over a million dollars and sold in 2015 for $900,000. Interior photos are available from Realtor.com

#Current Events

As far as we can tell, the apartment building and parking lot is still owned by RISD. The carriage house has entered private ownership, and a two-car garage has been added to the site.

Guests can rent this home (found late 2020, no guarantee this link will continue to work) from Vrbo: vrbo.com/7314900ha

#History

From PPS’s Guide to Providence Architecture

In 1857, wealthy druggist Earl P. Mason built the clapboard three-story, Italianate house at 296 Benefit Street. Just thirty-three feet west of the house is this small, two-story, brick carriage house, measuring twenty-five by twenty-seven feet, which served as Mason’s private stable. Nineteenth-century carriage houses are relatively rare survivors throughout the city and are especially rare and unusual in this densely built part of College Hill. Throughout the twentieth century the building, vacant and unused, suffered from deferred maintenance, clearly visible in its missing windows and fallen brick.