Filed Under Residences

Kendrick-Prentice Tirocchi House

The Wedding Cake House

This extravagantly embellished house is still called the Wedding Cake House in spite of its current desperate search for rehabilitation. The first owner John Kendrick was an inventor whose American Supply Company dominated the global market in loom and reed harnesses, a crucial element of textile mill power looms. The c. 1867 mansion attributed to Broadway architect Perez Mason reflects the euphoric froth of new money. For a while owned by railway and button-fastener tycoon George Prentice, in 1915, the house was purchased by Italian immigrant dressmaker Anna Tirocchi. In the elegant salons of the Wedding Cake House, Anna and her sister Laura fitted Providence’s elite in their couture creations that echoed Paris fashions. At Anna’s death in 1947, everything was wrapped in tissue paper and put away. Some forty years later, RISD Museum curators were stunned as if entering a fashion time capsule when Laura’s son invited them into the house to catalog and preserve the collection.

Images

Wedding Cake House in 1868 This photograph shows John K. Kendrick's house shortly after it was completed. Date: 1868
Anna Tirocchi and Her Employees At the Butler Exchange Shop. c. 1912
One of the Renowned Tirocchi Dresses This is an evening dress by A. & L. Tirocchi, a gift of L.J. Cella III. Source: Photography by Erik Gould, RISD Museum Date: 1926
Another Beautiful Example of a Tirocchi Dress This is another dress by A. & L. Tirocchi, a Gift of L.J. Cella III. Source: Photography by Erik Gould, RISD Museum Date: 1926

Location

514 Broadway Street, Providence, RI 02903

Metadata

Taylor M. Polites, “Kendrick-Prentice Tirocchi House,” Rhode Tour, accessed January 30, 2023, https://rhodetour.org/items/show/160.