The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, the Friends of Linden Place, and the Town of Bristol have joined together to sponsor a six-part Architectural Study Series during the month of August to be led by well-known architectural historian John Tschirch. This exploration of Bristol’s buildings, both monumental and modest, will cover over three hundred years of high level design and craftsmanship inspired by the classical ideals of Greece and Rome combined with the emerging technologies in the Victorian Age. Through illustrated lectures enhanced by follow-up walking tours, participants will immerse in the riches of Bristol’s architectural heritage.
The Architectural Study Series of Bristol will consist of three lectures on Thursday evenings followed by three walking tours on Saturday mornings covering the Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian periods. Each set of lectures will take place at a different unique building in downtown Bristol from which the walking tours will also begin and end.
Thursday, August 9, 7 p.m. at Linden Place, 500 Hope Street. Lecture: Classical Taste: Colonial to Federal Styles. The craftsmen and artisans of 18th and early 19th century Bristol skillfully adapted the Georgian and Neo-Classical styles to local circumstances and tastes.
Saturday, August 11 at 10 a.m. Walking Tour begins and ends at Linden Place, 500 Hope Street. Georgian and Federal Architecture. A walk down Hope and Bradford Streets to view the craftsmanship of the town’s few surviving colonial houses and the more numerous Federal era buildings which rose at the height of Bristol’s seafaring prosperity.
Thursday, August 16, 7 p.m. at Bristol County Statehouse, 240 High Street. Lecture: Temples for All: The Greek Revival. The Greek Revival with its white columned houses defined the main streets of Bristol and was a popular national style appealing to the aspirations of the new country emerging after the Revolutionary War.
Saturday August 18, 10 a.m. Walking Tour begins and ends at the Bristol County Statehouse, 240 High Street. The Greek Revival. A journey past a series of houses on Hope Street, and various side streets, that demonstrate the adaptability of Greek forms and ornament in both grand and modest dwellings.
Thursday, August 23, 7 p.m. at the Burnside Building, 400 Hope Street. Lecture: Industry and Innovation: The Victorian Age. Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne Revival were all popular Victorian styles which made their way to Bristol as the town prospered from new industries. This lecture will also look at 19th century innovation, from windows and woodwork to cast iron.
Saturday, August 25, 10 a.m. Walking Tour begins and ends at the Burnside Building, 400 Hope Street. Victorian Architecture: Exploring State and High Streets, we will see Victorian houses ranging from workers’ apartments to a landmark Gothic Revival villa by nationally renowned architect, James Renwick.
The lectures and walking tours are all with John R. Tschirch, an award winning architectural historian, writer and photographer. With a Masters in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, Tschirch has spent thirty years working with Rhode Island’s buildings. Also, as a Bristol resident, he has wandered the Town’s streets for decades, studying its buildings in detail. He teaches courses in design history and photography at RISD CE and is Visiting Curator of Urban History for the Newport Historical Society. John is also a recipient of the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission’s 2013 Frederick C. Williamson Preservation Leadership Award.
All lectures and walking tours are $10 each or $5 for members of the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society and/or the Friends of Linden Place. Sign up in advance for the entire series and receive a discount: $50 for the series or $25 for members. Call Linden Place at 401-253-0390 to reserve your spot. Additional information is available at bhpsri.org or lindenplace.org.