House Lust: Inside the Moses Brown Ives House, one of the Priciest Properties in the City

The luxe Greek Revival has unheard-of square footage and extraordinary city views.

When your historic house bears not one, not two, but three dates on its preservation society plaque, it’s safe to say the renovations weren’t rough-hewn. We only write things down when they’re worth it.

The Moses Brown Ives House, built in 1835, was a remarkable affair from the start. As his name suggests, Moses Brown Ives won the Rhode Island birth lottery. Named for his maternal great-uncle, Moses Brown, Ives was the son of Thomas Pynton Ives — a fatherless clerk for Nicholas Brown Sr. who later went into business with Nicholas Brown Jr. — and Hope Brown, Brown Sr.’s daughter. (Moses Brown Ives kept up the dynastic momentum by marrying Annie Allen Dorr, sister of the leader of the Dorr Rebellion.)

The home was built on family land — Moses Brown Ives grew up across the street — and is one of the city’s largest Greek Revival residences. When Moses Brown Ives died, his daughter, Hope Brown Ives Russell, inherited the property and shepherded its first major renovation with the help of architect Alfred Stone. The changes included reorienting the entrance and updating the interiors in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. In 1897, Hope donated the house to the Episcopal Diocese — a good move; they’re practiced in the care and feeding of old buildings — and it served as a bishop’s residence for nearly a century, per the 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture. Early on, the Diocese added the magnificent porch (what better way to take in the glory of Providence, we wonder?).

It returned to private ownership in 2007, when Upserve CEO Angus Davis bought it for $2.4 million. In 2016, Davis sold the property to an entrepreneur and, now, it’s back on the market with Lila Delman Compass — and after renovations worthy of a new date on the plaque.

Here’s your House Lust:

For more information on the Moses Brown Ives House, contact Lila Delman Compass’s Tom Wegner at 401-383-0999 or Bob Walsh at 401-595-4154 or visit liladelman.com.

 

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