Monday, December 30, 2013

Seafair - a.k.a "The Hurricane Hut"

'Seafair' - The V. Reed Cottage

In the 1930's, Verner Z. Reed Jr. (1900-1986); Vice-President of the Chase Manhattan Bank and later appointed Ambassador to Morocco by President Reagan; called upon British architect William Mackenzie to design for him and build an impressive mansion upon a monumental seaside plot of land. The cottage, once completed, was said to be the last of Newport's famed "cottages" built along the sea. 

After a series of massive hurricanes that hit the house ~ earning it the nickname "Hurricane Hut" ~ which did particular damage since the house sat jutting out, exposed to the sea. The house was sold, and later divided up into condominiums. In the 1940's, the home was rented out to William Van Alen, whose mother, Daisy Van Alen Bruguiere lived at 'Wakehurst' a few miles down. In 1945, a Hurricane hit the home as Van Alen and his family were evacuating. Eventually water struck the three Van Alen Rolls Royce, filled with Van Alen, his family and their servants, which were on their way to Van Alen's brother's place, 'Avalon', which was on higher ground. Three servants died in the incident, and soon after, Van Alen and his wife, Bessie, headed out for Philadelphia. 

After a wave of owners, a few more wave crashes, Seafair was finally purchased by Rick Bready, chairman of Nortek Inc. in Providence, RI. He and his wife occupied the estate for about four years. In 2013, the couple listed their high-price estate for $19 million. They also listed a separate condo on the property for $3 million. Check out the links below for more information on the listing. 

254 Ocean Av, Newport Rhode Island

Seafair - A Historic $19 Million-Dollar Waterfront Property in Newport, RI

Seafair - $19,000,000


If you are interested in Newport and it's historic "cottages", or even have a general love for architecture and the Gilded Age, and have a Facebook, please ask to join my group, "Newport ~ Queen of Resorts" for plenty of information, floor plans, photographs and stories of Newport cottages and the people who lived in them. Please also give The Gilded Age Era's Facebook page a like, by clicking HERE, and showing us your support. To see photographs of many of the Gilded Age properties, including the Vanderbilt homes, Astor palaces, Widener estates and Rockefeller compounds, please visit my Pinterest account, by clicking HERE


  1. Mr. Hughes, I do like your description of yourself!

  2. It was JOSEPH Verneer Reed Jr. who was Ambassador to Morocco, not his close relative Verner Z. Reed of Hurricane Hut

  3. I remember this place as a hippie and Navy sailor aparent house during the 1960's. Lol....then in the 1980's buying french hardware the garage at a yardsale! Before they turned it into condos...then in the 90's helping to restore it back into a single residence... lol its also haunted mother knew people who drowned after leaving the house during a hurricane!

    1. Hi, I'm researching this house. Would love to connect for more info.

    2. I'm looking for extensive history on this house, please help!

  4. Absolutely beautiful! I would love to be a caretaker here..I would work hard all day and fish all evening! Gorgeous!

  5. Replies
    1. How do you know this??
      Are you at City hall??

  6. I remember it in the late sixties when it was a unoccupied empty shell with not much left to the inside décor .It was a beautiful place right on top of the ocean with stunning views of the ocean sitting on the steps playing guitar reliving those Golden Summers of a bygone era !


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