Images of this Property
7 images: Press to view larger or scroll sideways to see more. Contribution from a Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission report
About this Property
According to the anecdotes, there have been more than a few owners over the past 30 years or so, and some tragedy as well. The building remains occupied and is one of many jewels on the West Side. It sounds like the interior spaces are amazing. It was most recently purchased in 2015 for $499,000.
159 Sutton Street is an art gallery for local RI talent, a sister project to the now closed 186 Carpenter Street. We are not sure what COVID in 2020 meant for the gallery space, as their website has not been updated with anything new since then.
A 1937 G.M. Hopkins cadastral map shows “Providence Ice Cream Co.” at this location.
From an anecdote supplied by a former resident (owner?)
The J.B. Barnaby’s Castle’s carriage house was completed in 1875, designed by Stone, Carpenter and Wilson (A.I.R.” The firm actually would not be Stone, Carpenter, and Willson until 1885), a prominent and prestigious architectural firm in Providence. In the same theme of elaborate and exuberant design as the main mansion it belonged to, the Carriage house had many exceptional details added to its functional purpose as the stable for J.B. Barnaby’s horses and carriages. Some of the details include the 10 foot rosette window in the center location of the second floor. This is surrounded by colorful Italian tiles that give it a Moorish look to the building. The building is made of brick and granite. The tack room, originally simply the area that the tack for the horses and carriages were kept, has floor to ceiling mahogany walls with alternating shades of light and dark mahogany. There is a high shelf below the ceiling to this room which is also made of mahogany with intricate carvings and the initials of JB Barnaby over the entrance door carved in large “old English” lettering. The floor of the tack room is made of porcelain tiles in an intricate, colorful, and fanciful mosaic pattern. Each floor of the carriage house is 4000 sf and all the wood of the walls are mahogany. The floor on the second floor is original yellow pine.
The building was used over the years for many commercial purposes and in 1997 the building was bought and renovated for residential. The top floor kept the openness and spirit of the carriage house intact. Many original details were left wherever possible. On Dec 23rd, 1997 the first Christmas tree was lit in the large rosette window. In Feb 1998, a wedding was held inside. (It was the second wedding, the first being held for one of J.B. Barnaby’s daughters.)
The owners of the carriage house continued the renovations, calling the building their “mini mansion”. With great care and love for this masterpiece of a building, 100s of hours went into creating a space worthy of the original design. On May 12, 2002 the owner was tragically killed by a drunk driver and his wife was forced to sell the building.
From “The West Side, Providence,” Statewide Preservation Report P-P-1, Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, 1976, page 24
Another highly original example [of Victorian West Side Architecture] is the Eddy Estate brick carriage house of 1875, at 159 Sutton Street, displaying a robust monumentality through oversized eclectic architectural detail while retaining the formal symmetry of a mansard roof with a central pavilion and spire. Distinctly Moorish in flavor, the surface is replete with carved granite, polychromed tiles, and a rose window. The central pavilion formerly contained a clock and was topped by a tall spire, stressing its verticality. The Eddy mansion at 299 Broadway, begun in the 1870’s was extensively remodeled in the following decade.
From the “Broadway-Armory Historic District” National Register nomination form, 1974
Barnaby Carriage House (1875): Stone and Carpenter, architects; 1-story; mansard; brick-and-stone, large and elaborate, Moorish inspired carriage house; with horseshoe-arch fenestration flanking the central carriage entrance surmounted by a projecting clock tower with a large, tile-enframed round window with circle-motif tracery. Upper part of the spire and the clock have been removed. Originally part of the adjacent Barnaby Estate at 299 Broadway, it is now divided into flats. […]
[From the description for the J.B. Baranby Castle at 299 Broadway] Jerothmul Barnaby (1830-89) was a self-made magnate in ready-to-wear clothing and had a large store at 180-204 Westminster Street. He left an estate of almost $2 million.