The Mansions – Newport, Rhode Island

The Mansions – Newport, Rhode Island

Just envision living in a time when the homes of the great residents of the community were the amazing homes that you can tour today.

First is the Breakers which was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad.  The villa was constructed in 1893 to replace the earlier wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire the previous year.  The mansion is a 70 room Italian Renaissance style palazzo inspired by  the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin.

The mansion was eventually purchased from the heir of the Vanderbilt’s in 1972 and is designated a National Historic Landmark.

Location:
44 Ochre Point Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Next on the list of mansions to see is the Marble House.  It was built between 1888 and 1892 as another summer house, or “cottage”, for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt.  This mansion set the pace for Newport’s subsequent transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to the legendary resort of opulent stone palaces.

William was another grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt.  Alva Vanderbilt was a leading hostess in Newport society, and envisioned Marble House as her “temple to the arts” in America.

The cost of this house was reported to be $11 million, of which $7 million was spend on 500,000 cubic feet of marble.

The house was purchased by the P reservations Society in 1963 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Location:
596 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Berwind of Philadelphia and New York.  He made his fortune in the Pennsylvania coal industry.

Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1.4 million. The interiors and furnishings were designed by Allard and Sons of Paris and were the setting for the Berwinds’ collection of Renaissance ceramics, 18th century French and Venetian paintings, and Oriental jades.

The elaborate Classical Revival gardens on the grounds were developed between 1907 and 1914. They include The Elms dining room terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a park of fine specimen trees and a lavish lower garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden and carriage house and garage. These gardens were recently restored.

The Preservation Society of Newport County purchased The Elms in 1962 and opened the house to the public. In 1996, The Elms was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Location:
367 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Next on the list of mansions from the area is the Rosecliff.  Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million.

Rosecliff is now preserved through the generosity of its last private owners, Mr. and Mrs. J. Edgar Monroe, of New Orleans. They gave the house, its furnishings, and an endowment to the Preservation Society in 1971.

Location:
548 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Chateau-sur-Mer is a landmark of High Victorian architecture, furniture, wallpapers, ceramics and stenciling. It was the most palatial residence in Newport from its completion in 1852 until the appearance of the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s.  Chateau-sur-Mer was built as an Italianate-style villa for China trade merchant William Shepard Wetmore.

The house was remodeled and redecorated in the Second Empire French style in the 1870′s. As a result, Chateau-sur-Mer displays most of the major design trends of the last half of the 19th century.

The house was purchased by the Preservation Society in 1969.  In 2006 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Location:
474 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Kingscote is a landmark of the Gothic Revival style in American architecture.  It is a house that blends the eastern and western motifs with materials such as cork tiles as a wall covering and early installation of opalescent glass bricks by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The house was left to the Preservation Society in 1972 when the last heir passed away.  Today, Kingscote is a National Historic Landmark. It is a rare example of a Gothic Revival house and landscape setting preserved intact with original family collections.

Location:
253 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

The Isaac Bell House is one of the best surviving examples of shingle style architecture in the country. The house was Isaac Bell House entrydesigned by the firm of McKim, Mead and White in 1883 for Isaac Bell, a wealthy cotton broker and investor. After passing through a succession of owners, the Isaac Bell House was purchased by the Preservation Society in 1996, and is today designated a National Historic Landmark.

It is a combination of Old English and European architecture with colonial American and exotic details, such as a Japanese-inspired open floor plan and bamboo-style porch columns.

Location:
70 Perry Street
Newport, RI 02840

Hunter House is one of the finest examples of Georgian Colonial architecture from Newport’s “golden age” in the mid-18th century. The house was built and decorated when Newport was a cosmopolitan city with a principle of religious tolerance that attracted Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists and Sephardic Jews.

The Preservation Society restored Hunter House to the era of Colonel Wanton (1757 to 1779). Today, the house exhibits examples of the finest achievements in the arts and crafts of 18th century Newport.

Location:
54 Washington Street
Newport, RI 02840

Chepstow is an Italianate-style villa built in 1860.  This house was bequeathed to the Preservation Society in 1986 with its collections intact and an endowment by Mrs. Alletta Morris Mc Bean to preserve the building and it’s treasures.

Containing the original Morris-Gallatin furnishings together with important 19th century American paintings and documents from other former Morris family residences, Chepstow is highly evocative of the taste and collections of a descendant of one of America’s founding families, placed in the context of a contemporary Newport summer home.

Advance reservations required for tours. Call 847-0421 for information and reservations.

Location:
120 Narragansett Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Each of these mansions are a history lesson of their own but when visited in the same time frame you can imagine what it was like for these wealthy residents to leave such a wonderful legacy to the rest of the nation to enjoy.

Operating Schedule
Some of the Preservation Society’s properties are open seasonally, so please check the schedule below to determine which properties will be open at the time of your planned visit.   All properties are closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Schedule is subject to change.  Call (401) 847-1000 for more information. Purchase your tickets today!

November 19, 2011 – January 2, 2012

Christmas at the Newport Mansions
The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House
Open daily and decorated for the holidays
The Breakers opens at 9 am, all other houses open at 10 am. Last tour admission at 4 pm. Houses and grounds close at 5 pm.

On Christmas Eve, last tour admission at all houses is at 3 pm.
All properties closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Holiday Evenings at The Breakers
Saturdays, November 26, December 3, 10 & 31
6 pm to 8 pm

Holiday Evening Duet:  The Elms and Marble House
Saturday, December 17
6 pm to 9 pm
January 3 – March 16, 2012

The Breakers
Open Daily

The Elms & Marble House
Open weekends, holidays, and daily February 17-26 for Newport Winter Festival

Guided tours at all three houses on the half hour, except during Newport Winter Festival, when self-guided audio tours will be in effect.

Houses open at 10 a.m., last tour admission at 4 p.m.  Houses & grounds close at 5 p.m.
March 17 – May 11, 2012
The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff
Open Daily

The Breakers opens at 9 am, all others open at 10 am.  Last tour admission at all houses is at 5 pm, houses and grounds close at 6 pm.

Special note:  Rosecliff will open for public tours at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 after the Preservation Society’s annual Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch.

May 12 – June 29, 2012

The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff, Green Animals Topiary Garden and Kingscote
Open Daily

The Breakers opens at 9 am, all others open at 10 am.  Last tour admission is at 5 pm. Houses and grounds close at 6 p.m.

Isaac Bell House, Hunter House, Chepstow and The Breakers Children’s Cottage open weekends only starting May 26.

The Chinese  Tea House at Marble House open daily for lunch and snacks starting May 12.
The Elms Carriage House open daily for lunch and snacks starting May 26.

Newport Flower Show, June 22-24. Rosecliff will be closed on Thursday, June 21 in preparation for the Newport Flower Show.  From June 22-24, Rosecliff accessible with  Newport Flower Show ticket only–regular mansion tickets may be upgraded to include the Newport Flower Show, but there will be no guided tours of Rosecliff.
June 30 – September 3, 2012

The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff, Green Animals Topiary Garden, Kingscote, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House, Chepstow and The Breakers Stable & Carriage House
Open Daily

The Breakers opens at 9 am, all others open at 10 am.  Last tour admission at The Breakers is at 6 pm, and house and grounds close at 7 pm.  Last tour admission at all other houses is at 5 pm,   houses and grounds close at 6 p.m.

The Chinese Tea House at Marble House  and The Elms Carriage House Cafe open daily for lunch and snacks.

September 4 – October 8, 2012

The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff, Green Animals Topiary Garden and Kingscote
Open Daily

Hunter House and Isaac Bell House
Open Weekends & Holidays

The Breakers opens at 9 am, all others open at 10 am.  Last tour admission at all houses is at 5 pm.  Houses and grounds close at 6 pm.

The Chinese  Tea House at Marble House open daily for lunch and snacks.

On September 22 & 23, Marble House will be closed except for Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival attendees.

Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival, September 21 to 23

To request a printed Newport Mansions brochure be sent to you via U.S. Mail, please send your name and mailing address to info@NewportMansions.org; or call (401) 847-1000; or mail a note to:

Brochure Request
The Preservation Society of Newport County
424 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

To arrange a Group Tour or purchase a corporate ticket package, e-mail:
groups@NewportMansions.org; call (401) 847-2251; fax (401) 847-9477; or write to:

Group Tours
The Preservation Society of Newport County
424 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

For information about renting a Newport Mansion for your wedding, corporate event or private party, click here, or e-mail: events@NewportMansions.org; call (401) 847-1000 ext 140; or write to:

Special Events
The Preservation Society of Newport County
424 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840