Kingscote at Bellevue Avenue
The Kingscote Mansion is one of Newport’s famous summer “cottages”. Like a number of the opulent mansions in Newport, It is located along Bellevue Avenue. In 1839, George Noble Jones, who was a planter from the South, hired architect Richard Upjohn to design a unique home for him. Upjohn adopted the Gothic Revival style and he came up with a very distinctive “cottage orne” (a.k.a. ornamental cottage). The mansion’s main features include towers, arched windows, and porch roofs that bear similarities with the tournament tents of the Medieval Age. The Kingscote Mansion became one of the first luxury homes in Newport. After its construction in the 1830s, numerous other residences were built. When the Civil War broke out, the owners of Kingscote fled Newport. They never returned, and the house was purchased by William Henry King in 1864. King was a China Trade merchant. He gave his nephew David the task of overseeing the household.
David commissioned the McKin, Mead and White designers to renovate and expand Kingscote through the addition of a new dining room. The merging of the architectural styles and motifs of the east and of the west are very evident in Kingscote’s new dining room. One of the most popular design elements in the house is the opalescent glass bricks by Louis Comfort Tiffany. In 1972, the last heir of the King family turned the mansion over to the Preservation Society of Newport. It is now considered a National Historic Landmark. The preservation society, as with the other famous mansions in Newport, operates Kingscote as a museum and opens it to public tours. Also under the Preservation Society of Newport are the Isaac Bell House, the Chateau-sur-Mer and the Chepstow.
The Isaac Bell House, along Perry Street, was designed by the same firm commissioned by David King for the Kingscote expansion. McKim, Mead, and White built the house in 1883 for a rich cotton broker and investor names Isaac Bell. The influences of Old English and European styles mixed with the occasional Asian elements established the Isaac Bell House as one of the most original works of residential architecture in 1883.
The Chateau-sur-Mer, like Kingscote, is located along Bellevue Avenue. The mansion is a fine example of High Victorian architecture. Before the Vanderbilt family built their homes in Newport, the Chateau-sur-Mer was the largest residence in the area. The Chateau-sur-Mer became the catalyst of the Gilded Age Mansions that sprung in various area of Newport. In 2006, it became a National Historic Landmark. The Chepstow is set in Narrangansett Avenue. It was designed and built by architect George Champlin Mason in 1860 for Edmund Schermerhorn. In 1991, the Chepstow was bought by Emily Morris Gallatin. In 1986, the Morris family gave the mansion to the Preservation Society of Newport.