Newport, Rhode Island: Houses, Mansions and Gardens from Colonial Days to Gilded Age, and to Today

May 1, 2024 May 4, 2024

Newport was founded in 1639 on Rhode Island, which is now called Aquidneck Island. No American seaside resort is more famous or historic than Newport. In part, that’s because few other places retain so superlative and intact a legacy of extraordinary buildings dating from the early colonial period to the modern day. In the eighteenth century, Newport’s harbor was the most important port in the country, especially in the American Revolution, making Newport a very prosperous town. In the mid-nineteenth century summer cottages started to appear and the Gilded Age kicked off around 1865 and ran up to 1915 and World War I. Preservation of historic Newport started in 1945 with the purchase of Hunter House (c.1748) in the Point Section of town – and this led to the formation of the Preservation Society of Newport County (now popularly called Newport Mansions). Newport Preservation Foundation and other groups followed. All major architects and firms are represented in Newport starting with Peter Harrison in the mid-1700’s, then to Richard Upjohn, Richard Morris Hunt, McKim Mead & White, Horace Trumbauer, Peabody & Stearns, John Russell Pope, Delano & Aldrich, Charles Platt, to name a few. Today, firms like Fairfax & Sammons, Peter Pennoyer Architects and others are all engaged in projects.

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