|'Marble House', the Willie K. Vanderbilt cottage, Newport, RI.|
My Facebook group, "Newport ~ Queen of Resorts", has reached over 400 members this morning! "Newport ~ Queen of Resorts" is dedicated to remembering Newport, RI, and the marble mansions (cozily called "cottages" by their owners) that made it so legendary. Please join our group, by clicking HERE.
During the Gilded Age, Newport was considered the Queen of all the summer resorts, and many of America's richest citizens built homes there in an attempt to break into the "400", a list of who's who in New York society according to Mrs. Caroline Astor, the leader of the social arena. Amongst other things, a potential candidate was required to spend at least three seasons in Newport before acceptance was decided. Alva Smith Vanderbilt, of the recently rich Vanderbilt family, decided to outbuild everyone in Newport (known as the practice of "Vanderbuilding"). She hired her friend, the renown architect Richard Morris Hunt, to design and build for her a spectacular palace costing $11 million (About $280 million today) made entirely out of marble! The result was the 'Marble House' we have today. Interestingly, Alva chose to build her home on a plot of land adjoining the Newport cottage of Mrs. Astor, 'Beechwood'. To put it simply, Alva was bound to get in!