Historic Newport Mansions
One of the most popular attractions in Newport are the Historic Gilded Age Mansions. Built near the turn of the century, these magnificent structures are each a museum onto itself.
Combination mansion tickets can be purchased here at the Inn. Single mansion tickets and combination mansion tickets can also be purchased at all of the mansions and all mansions have complimentary parking located on or near Bellevue Avenue. Tickets are valid for up to a year. All of the houses are well marked and labeled on the map provided.
For additional information, brochures and illustrated books on the mansions can be found in the dining room at the Inn.
The grand 70 room Italian Renaissance-style villa built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad, after his first house burned down. The most elegant and opulent, by far, of all the Newport mansions.
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 the scene of memorable entertainment, from the “Fete Champetre”, an elaborate country picnic for over two thousand guests held in 1857, to the debutante ball for Miss Edith Wetmore in 1889. Chateau-su-Mer’s grand scale and lavish parties ushered in the Gilded Age of Newport.
An Italianate-style villa, Chepstow was built in 1860 by resident Newport architect George Champlin Mason as the summer residence of Edmund Schermerhorn. Acquired by Mrs. Emily Morris Gallatin in 1911, the estate continued in the Morris family until bequeathed in 1986 to the Preservation Society with its collections intact and an endowment by Mrs. Alletta Morris McBean. 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.
The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the Pennsylvania coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris. 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.
Green Animals Topiary Garden
Cory’s Lane, Portsmouth
This small country estate was purchased in 1872 by Thomas E. Brayton (1844-1939), Treasurer of the Union Cotton Manufacturing Company in Fall River, Massachusetts. It consisted of seven acres of land, a white clapboard summer residence, farm outbuildings, a pasture and a vegetable garden. There are 80 pieces of topiary throughout the gardens, including 21 animals and birds in addition to geometric figures and ornamental designs, sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood. Green Animals is the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States.
Washington Street (Point Section)
The 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 great mercantile families lived patrician lives, building harbor front mansions overlooking their trading ships, and entertained in grand style. They bought furniture and silver from local craftsmen and were the patrons of such important early painters as Robert Feke and Gilbert Stuart.
Isaac Bell House
The Isaac Bell House is one of the best surviving examples of shingle style architecture in the country. The house was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead and White in 1883 for Isaac Bell, a wealthy cotton broker and investor. 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.
A landmark of the Gothic Revival style in American architecture. Its appearance in Newport marked the beginning of the “cottage boom” that would distinguish the town as a veritable laboratory for the design o picturesque houses throughout the 19th century. In 1839 Southern planter George Noble Jones commissioned architect Richard Upjohn to design a summer cottage along a country road, known as Bellevue Avenue, on the outskirts of town.
The Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. It was designed as a summerhouse, or “cottage”, as Newporters called them in remembrance of the modest houses of the early 19th century. But Marble House was much more than a cottage; it was a social and architectural landmark that set the pace for Newport’s subsequent transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to the legendary resort of opulent stone palaces. Alva E. Smith was educated in France and married the second son of William H. Vanderbilt and had three children before she divorced Vanderbilt to marry Oliver Belmont in 1895.
Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1889, 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, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted fabulous parties. Scenes from several films have been shot on location at Rosecliff, including High Society, The Great Gatsby, True Lies and Amistad.
At the end of famed Bellevue Avenue, past some of the grandest homes in the country, the mansion called Rough Point sits behind trimmed trees and shrubs. For years, Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress dubbed “The Richest Girl in the World,” let few strangers glimpse the ocean side home she inherited from her parents.