Rhode Island

Mansions and Gardens in Newport


During the 19th century, many rich families were attracted to the shores of Newport. The wealthiest of which, including the Belmonts, Astors and the Vanderbilts, commissioned the best architects and designers to build their summer mansions. Today, most of these mansions are owned and operated as museums by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

The Preservation Society maintains the interiors and the exteriors of the luxurious Gilded Age homes, and they are the most popular tourist spots in Newport.

The Breakers Mansion is located along Ochre Point Avenue. It is described to be the grandest of all the homes in Newport. It was previously owned by the affluent Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. The mansion was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt who, in turn, hired a very talented team of designers and furniture-makers to help him create the magnificent Italian Renaissance influenced mansion.

Mansions and gardens in newport
The Elms Mansion, with address at 367 Bellevue Avenue, was owned by Julius Berwind. It was designed by architect Horace Trumbauer after the chateau d’Asnieres in France. The Berwind residence’s furnishings by Allard and Sons of Paris are matched in beauty and extravagance by the Classical Revival gardens surrounding the Elms. The Rosecliff Mansion is also located along Bellevue Avenue. It was owned by Theresa Fair Oelrichs and designed by architect Stanford White. The inspiration behind the impressive home was the Grand Trianon, which was the garden retreat of French nobles in Versailles. During the 1900s, the Rosecliff Mansion served as the venue for many lavish parties and themed dinners in Newport.

The Marble House was the property of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt’s grandson, William K. Vanderbilt. It was also designed by Richard Morris Hunt. As its name implies, the mansion is made mostly out of marble – 500,000 cubic feet of marble, to be exact. William Vanderbilt gave the Marble House to his wife Alva for the 39th birthday. Alva later divorced William and sold the house to Frederick H. Prince.

The Kingscote, set along Bellevue Avenue, has evident Gothic Revival architectural influences. It was designed by architect Richard Upjohn after George Noble Jones asked him to build him a summer home in Newport. The mansion features towers, arched windows and porch roofs. When the Civil War broke out, the Jones family left Newport, and the house was sold to William Henry King. King’s family maintained possession of the Kingscote until 1972. The Hunter House is located along Washington Street. Its architecture is heavily influenced by Georgian Colonial styles.

Part of the mansion was built by Jonathon Nichols, Jr., but after his death, it was sold to Colonel Joseph Wanton, Jr, who expanded the house.

The Preservation Society of Newport County manages a total of nine mansions. Apart from those mentioned above, they include the

Chateau-sur-Mer, the Isaac Bell House and the Chepstow.