Walter F. Fontaine

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Walter F. Fontaine[1]
Born January 12, 1871
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Died 1938
Charlestown, Rhode Island
Nationality USA
Known for Architecture

Walter Francis Fontaine (1871–1938) was an American architect of French Heritage who specialized in churches and schools, mostly for French Catholic clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Despite these numerous religious commissions, in his time he was also sought out as a designer of private homes and industrial structures. He is generally regarded as the most important architect in Woonsocket, Rhode Island's history.

Early life and education[edit]

Fontaine was born Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1871. Later he moved to Woonsocket, Rhode Island where he began his architectural training in 1887 in the office of Willard Kent, an important architect and engineer in late 19th century Woonsocket. While Fontaine was apprentice Kent designed the now-demolished Woonsocket Opera House.[2]

After additional training in Europe in 1893, he worked in the Providence firm of Stone, Carpenter, and Willson, where he became one of that firm's head designers. In 1901 he returned to Woonsocket where he opened his own office.[3]

Architectural practice[edit]

Fontaine worked as Fontaine & Kinnicutt with E. H. Kinnicutt from 1903 to 1910, when Kinnicutt died.[4] Fontaine was especially popular with French Catholic clients who were building churches throughout New England during the early 20th century. He also built numerous factories and mills throughout southern New England. Several of his buildings have been included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Fontaine was a member of the AIA and served for a time as Vice President of the Rhode Island chapter. He was also a member of the Rhode Island State Planning Board.

Fontaine and his wife, Obeline Lucier Fontaine, died during the Hurricane of 1938 at their summer home in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

Legacy[edit]

Fontaine's sons, Oliver W. Fontaine and Paul N. Fontaine worked in their father's office starting in 1921. Fontaine made them partners in about 1934, at which point the firm became Walter F. Fontaine & Sons. After his death, Fontaine's firm continued on for another year, before being dissolved. Oliver W. Fontaine continued on with his own architectural practice into the 1970s, designing several buildings for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Architectural Works[edit]

While in private practice (1901-1903 and 1910-c.1935):

  • Commercial Block, 99-113 Main St., Woonsocket, RI (1902) - This was Fontaine's first individual work.[5]
  • Central Police Station (Former), 139 Front St., Woonsocket, RI (1903)[6]
  • St. Cecilia's R. C. Church, 1253 Newport Ave., Pawtucket, RI (1910)[7]
  • Tower of the R. C. Church of the Precious Blood, 91 Carrington Ave., Woonsocket, RI (1910)[8]
  • Mt. St. Francis Orphanage, 4 St. Joseph St., Woonsocket, RI (1911)[9]
  • Edward Mee House, 253 Harris Ave., Woonsocket, RI (1912)[10]
  • Thompson School, 10 Prospect St., Webster, MA (1912)
  • Edmond Guerin House, 190 Glen Rd., Woonsocket, RI (1913)[11]
  • St. Ann's R. C. Church, 84 Cumberland St., Woonsocket, RI (1913)[12]
  • Woonsocket High School (Former), Park Pl., Woonsocket, RI (1913)[13]
  • Children's Building, R. I. State Sanitorium for Consumptives, 2090 Wallum Lake Rd., Pascoag, Burrillville, RI (1914)
  • Charles Proulx House, 183 Glen Rd., Woonsocket, RI (1915)[14]
  • St. Charles Borromeo R. C. Church, 176 Dexter St., Providence, RI (1915)[15]
  • Fifth Avenue School, 65 5th Ave., Woonsocket, RI (1917)
  • McFee School, 108 High St., Woonsocket, RI (1917)
  • St. Joseph's R. C. Church, Bucknam St., Everett, MA (1917) - This church has been demolished.[16]
  • Convent of Notre Dame R. C. Church, 626 Broad St., Central Falls, RI (1919)[17]
  • St. Anthony R. C. High School, 190 Ashley Blvd., New Bedford, MA (1922)[18]
  • Woonsocket School of Commercial Sciences (Former), 77 Federal St., Woonsocket, RI (1922)[19]
  • St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church, 394 Blackstone St., Woonsocket, RI (1923)[20]
  • Convent of St. Ann's R. C. Church, 138 Elm St., Woonsocket, RI[21]
  • Walter F. Fontaine House, 211 Glen Rd., Woonsocket, RI (1925)[22]
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel R. C. School (Former), 59 Pleasant St., Phenix, West Warwick, RI (1926) - The 3rd floor was removed in 1957.[23]
  • Our Lady of Victories R. C. Church, 130 Prospect St., Woonsocket, RI (1926)[24]
  • Union St. Jean-Baptiste Building, 1-19 Social St., Woonsocket, RI (1926)[25]
  • Woonsocket Junior High School (Former), Park Pl., Woonsocket, RI (1927)[26]
  • Pothier Mausoleum, Precious Blood Cemetery, Woonsocket, RI (1928)[27]
  • Mt. St. Charles Academy, 800 Logee St., Woonsocket, RI (1928)[28]
  • St. Matthew's R. C. Church, 1030 Dexter St., Central Falls, RI (1929)[29]
  • St. Charles Borromeo R. C. School, 155 Harrison St., Providence, RI (1932)[30]

While with Fontaine & Kinnicutt (1903-1910):

  • Malcolm Campbell House, 129 Lyman St., Woonsocket, RI (1905)[31]
  • Our Lady of Good Help R. C. Church, 1063 Victory Hwy., Mapleville, Burrillville, RI (1905)[32]
  • Our Lady of Lourdes R. C. School, 211 Carleton St., Providence, RI (1905)[33]
  • French Worsted Mills, 153 Hamlet Ave., Woonsocket, RI (1906) - Demolished in 2012
  • Ervin Dunn House, 168 Woodland Rd., Woonsocket, RI (1907)[34]
  • Notre Dame High School (Former), 62 Fales St., Central Falls, RI (1907)
  • St. Lawrence R. C. Church, 624 Woonasquatucket Ave., Centerdale, North Providence, RI (1907)
  • St. Matthew's R. C. School, 909 Lonsdale Ave., Central Falls, RI (1907)
  • St. Mary R. C. Church, 46 Valley St., Willimantic, CT (1907) - This church suffered a major fire in May 2013, but expects to rebuild.[35]
  • First Methodist Church, 17 Federal St., Woonsocket, RI (1908)[36]
  • Dr. Elisha Clarke House, 144 Woodland Rd., Woonsocket, RI (1909)[37]
  • Holy Family R. C. Church, 414 S. Main St. Woonsocket, RI (1909)[38]
  • Pothier School, 1044 Social St., Woonsocket, RI (1909)
  • Y.M.C.A., 43 Federal St., Woonsocket, RI (1909)[39]

While as Walter F. Fontaine & Sons (c.1935-c.1939)

  • Nurses' Home, Rhode Island State Sanitarium, 2090 Wallum Lake Rd., Pascoag, Burrillville, RI (1935)[40]
  • Slatersville School, 83 Greene St., Slatersville, North Smithfield, RI (1936)[41]
  • St. John's R. C. Church, 20 Washington St., Arctic, West Warwick, RI (1936)[42]
  • St. Antoine Hospice, 10 Rhodes Ave., North Smithfield, RI (1937) - Since demolished, this was Fontaine's only known Art Deco design.[43]
  • St. Joseph's R. C. Church, 1200 Mendon Rd., Woonsocket, RI (1938) - The last building Fontaine designed before his death.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.woonsocket.org/fontaine.html
  2. ^ http://www.woonsocket.org/fontaine.html
  3. ^ http://www.woonsocket.org/fontaine.html
  4. ^ Representative Men & Old Families of Rhode Island
  5. ^ Representative Men & Old Families of Rhode Island
  6. ^ Representative Men & Old Families of Rhode Island
  7. ^ Rhode Island Stained Glass: An Historical Guide
  8. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  9. ^ Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Statewide Historic Preservation Report P-W-1 (September 1976)
  10. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  11. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  12. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  13. ^ Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Statewide Historic Preservation Report P-W-1 (September 1976)
  14. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  15. ^ The Civic & Architectural Development of Providence (1957)
  16. ^ The American Contractor (Magazine)
  17. ^ The American Contractor (Magazine)
  18. ^ The American Contractor (Magazine)
  19. ^ The American Contractor (Magazine)
  20. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  21. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  22. ^ Buildings of Rhode Island
  23. ^ Historic and Architectural Resources of West Warwick, Rhode Island: A Preliminary Report (1979)
  24. ^ http://www.woonsocket.org/fontaine.html
  25. ^ Buildings of Rhode Island
  26. ^ Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Statewide Historic Preservation Report P-W-1 (September 1976)
  27. ^ http://www.woonsocket.org/fontaine.html
  28. ^ Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Statewide Historic Preservation Report P-W-1 (September 1976)
  29. ^ Buildings of Rhode Island
  30. ^ The Bridgemen's Magazine
  31. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  32. ^ Buildings of Rhode Island
  33. ^ Our Lady of Lourdes Church Complex - NRHP Nomination (1990)
  34. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  35. ^ Sweet's Indexed Catalog of Building Construction
  36. ^ Rhode Island Stained Glass: An Historical Guide
  37. ^ Historic Resources of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - NRHP Nomination (September 1976)
  38. ^ Buildings of Rhode Island
  39. ^ Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Statewide Historic Preservation Report P-W-1 (September 1976)
  40. ^ Page 88, The Bridgemen's Magazine, Volume 35 (1935)
  41. ^ Page 682, The Bridgemen's Magazine, Volume 35 (1935)
  42. ^ Historic and Architectural Resources of West Warwick, Rhode Island: A Preliminary Report (1979)
  43. ^ The Bridgemen's Magazine
  44. ^ Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Statewide Historic Preservation Report P-W-1 (September 1976)

Further reading[edit]

Kervick, Francis William Wynn (1962). Architects in America of Catholic tradition. C.E. Tuttle Co. p. 50.