Last week I took you on a sunset cruise of Narragansett Bay off Newport, RI, today I'd like to show you some images of one of the great mansions in Newport. During the Gilded Age, Newport became the summer home for many rich and powerful American industrial and banking magnates. One of the most beautiful and ostentatious was the Marble House.
William K. Vanderbilt and his wife Alva commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design and build a summer home along the Atlantic ocean. Started in 1888 the home was completed in 1892 just three years before Alva and William divorced.
Alva married Oliver Hazzard Perry Belmont in 1896 and moved to the nearby mansion Belcourt. After Belmont's death in 1908, Alva reopened the Marble house and added a "tea house" along the cliff overlooking the Ocean. Alva had a problematic relationship with her daughter Consuelo that was at least partially patched up later in their lives.
Oriental style tea house.
Oriental tea house detail.
Alva became a deeply committed Suffragist and supported organizations such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and later the more activist National Woman's Party (NWP) founded by Alice Paul. Alva held meetings and fundraisers in both the tea house and the mansion.
The Marble house is listed as a National Historic Landmark and, along with several other mansions in Newport, is open to the public for tours. The property is owned and preserved by the Preservation Society of Newport County. All of the mansions are magnificent restorations and have interesting histories attached to them.
© 2010 Tim Marks all rights reserved