William Watts Sherman House at Shepard
The William Watts Sherman House, located on
Shepard Avenue, is another notable structure
in Newport, Rhode Island. It was built in
1875 by talented architect H.H. Richardson,
and its interiors were done by Stanford
White. The house is considered to be one of
Richardson’s best works. It started a trend
in American architecture known as the
Shingle Style, for which it became a
The house was built for William Watts
Sherman and his wife Annie Derby Rodgers
Wetmore. Sherman worked for the Duncan,
Sherman & Co. which is a banking firm in New
York. His wife was the daughter of the
wealthy owner of the Gilded Age mansion
Chateu-sur-Mer, William Shepard Wetmore.
After the design phase, the construction was
then passed on the Norcross Brothers. They
had the structural frames for the house
manufactured in New Jersey and shipped to
Newport for assembly.
The William Watts Sherman House has two and a half floors and is rectangular in
shape. Its dimensions are about fifty three by eighty one feet. It has two main
entrances on the west façade.
On the east is a driveway leading to an entrance under a canopy.
The first floor of the house features pink
The higher floors have
veneers made of shingle, brick, stucco
windows. The windows have panels that are
diamond in shape and are horizontally
arranged in rows along the walls
There are five large chimneys of
red brick that add drama to
exterior visual impact. The roof of the
William Watts Sherman House is a combination
of steep gables, which used
to be covered
with wood shingles.
|Reddish sandstone and brownstone were
used for the structure’s trims and edges.
The interior layout of the house is
basically a cluster of rooms arranged around
a large central hall. To make the central
hall an even more interesting focal point,
circa 1877 stained glass windows done be
Daniel Cottier were installed. These
additions, however, have been sold as
ownership of the property changed.
In 1879, McKim, Mead and White
made modifications to the original design. Stanford White
designed the house’s parlor and library, and Dudley Newton,
a Newport architect, appended a ballroom and a service wing.
The William Watts Sherman House is the result of the coming
together of Renaissance English, European and Colonial
American styles. Architectural historians believe the
building to have been inspired by the houses designed by
British architect Norman Shaw in Surrey.
The house remained privately owned until 1951. Subsequently,
it was given to the Baptist Home of Rhode Island and was
used to home the aged. A hospital wing was added to the
structure in 1963. In 1982, the William Watts Sherman House
was bought by the Salve Regina University.