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Architecture on College Hill

A look into Yellow House

On The Hill
On The Hill
Architecture on College Hill
Derin Akdurak

Derin Akdurak

Date
January 28, 2023
Read
1 Min

Edward Dexter House, or affectionately known as “Yellow House” for many, was built in 1795-1797. This historic building is one of the many architecturally significant buildings on College Hill that are now being used as student houses. Increased demand for off-campus housing has inevitably lead landowners to reevalute the uses of their property. But how much do we actually know about them now?

When it was first built, Gothic-style Edward Dexter House was located on the corner of George Street and Prospect Street. However, in 1860, the owners decided to cut the house in half and transport it two blocks south, to where it is now, and turn it around 90 degrees so the West façade became the South. Greeting many visitors and students from across the Blue Room, it is often mistaken for another Brown Building, but it keeps standing strong independently. After its relocation, the new East and West façades were replaced by brick for better protection against winter conditions, and an addition was made to expand the house to the north. Currently, it is divided into units. Some residents have chosen to play with the historic characteristic of the building by incorporating modern touches in its interior design.

Further up north the College Hill sits the Earl P. Mason Carriage House. Built in 1857, A short walk away from his own house, this Italianate building functioned as Mason’s stable. This building is a rare survivor of its architectural type and function, especially in this densely built area. It is adored by all its residents and visitors for the large spacing it affords. In the 20th century, it went largely uncared for due to the paradigm shift of transportation from horse-driven carriages to automobiles. However, it was bought by RISD and restored in early 2000s. It has been bought and sold numerous times since then, but the students’ enthusiasm has not diminished for this building where many have called home.

Like these two, many other historic houses and buildings have battled with the test of time on College Hill. Some have been acquired and cared for by Brown University, but many continue to add warmth and charm into the lives of many Brown University students. When apartment hunting, most students prioritize location or parking spaces, but it might also be a good idea to look into the history of the building as well. 

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