Best Laid Plans

August, 2006 - November, 2006 | Rockwell Gallery

On exhibit are architectural plans that date from 1869 to 1923. Known as “revival” style, these plans all borrow elements from earlier eras and incorporate them into modern structures, for their day, with new amenities such as indoor plumbing, refrigeration, and furnace heat.

In this exhibit you’ll find tips for reading the drawings, become familiar with architectural terminology and how the houses worked, and even “meet” the owners.

Built 1906
Architect: John P. Kingston (1872-1926) of Worcester
Style: Queen Anne

Dimensions: 37′ wide by 39′ deep, 1,443 square feet per floor, plus veranda

Built for J. Warren Ellsworth, cattle dealer, age 64


  • The house features a large front veranda or porch, something that became very popular in post-Civil War houses.
  • One enters from the veranda into the vestibule, an architectural feature introduced in the later 19 th century. It is an enclosed space that often included a coat closet and contains a second door to enter the house proper. A vestibule serves to cut off cold winter drafts, to provide a place to store outerwear, and to shield occupants from unsolicited callers.
  • Beyond the entry, the floor plan is open and includes a reception room for entertaining, library (family room), and dining room, all accessed by a central hallway. In the rear, doors close off the kitchen, pantry, and the stairs leading to the laundry in the basement—areas in the domain of hired help.


J. Warren Ellsworth was 64 when he commissioned the house at 5 Trowbridge Road in 1906. His father and a younger brother were farmers, his sister taught music. Mr. Ellsworth started as a butcher, worked as a meat inspector, and then prospered as a cattle dealer. He and his wife raised their three children in houses on Granite and Highland streets. By the time they moved to this house, only their daughter Mary remained at home. In 1916 Mr. Ellsworth purchased the adjacent lot at the corner of Trowbridge and Highland streets, securing an expansive lawn.

Mr. Ellsworth died, a widower, in 1923. Daughter Mary moved elsewhere and the heirs sold the property to Linwood and Katharine Forbes Erskine. It has changed hands since then but is still privately owned.

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