Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Queen of Summer Resorts



During the Gilded Age ~ And for a long period afterwards ~ the little seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island, was considered to be the select summer resort. One could never be "In" society if one didn't spend summers in Newport (or at the very least own a residence there). Along the oceanside, barons of wealth built colossal marble castles ~ crammed with every finest luxury of the time ~ next door to the sophisticated yet stylish mansions of the "old money" families. No matter the size or opulence, each of these regal establishments were cozily referred to as "cottages" by the seasonal summer residents. Today, many of these palaces survive in the hands of colleges, school institutions or Preservation societies and foundations. A few, however, still remain in private hands. Here are a few "cottages" located in the resort. 

The Breakers
Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II and his wife Alice, it was built to replace their first
cottage, also called 'Breakers', which burned down. Countess Gladys Szechenyi, Cornelius and Alice's daughter leased the Breakers to the Preservation Society of Newport, who bought the estate from her heirs.
It is the largest in Newport.


The Harold Brown Villa
Built by Harold Brown and his wife Georgette Wetmore as a summer estate. Given no
formal name, unlike most of the cottages, it was a treasured family jewel. It was left to Mrs Brown's
niece Eileen Slocum, who was considered the grande dame of Newport and the Republican Party and died in 2008. It is the only house on Bellevue Avenue still in the hands of the family.




Ochre Court
Built by Ogden and Mary Goelet as a palatial showplace to gain access into society.
Their son Robert offered the place to his daughter, who not surprisingly turned him down. He then donated the place to the now Salve Regina University, who still own it today.


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