Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport, RI - Newport, Rhode Island - Newport's Oldest Gilded Age Mansion Open to the Public


The Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport, RI, is located at 474 Bellevue Avenue in this city of around 25,000 inhabitants that is located about 60 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.

The house's name means House on the Sea in French. At the time the house was built and named, its property stretched all the way to the water front, which is no longer the case.

It is a monument to Victorian architecture, furnishings and adornments. The building dates back to 1852. It is remembered for the legendary parties it once hosted for thousands of guests.

It was constructed for China trade merchant William Shepard Wetmore, who died in 1862. In the 1870s this mansion was remodeled in French style by the renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt. A mixture of 19th Century styles are still found here nestles side by side in this house.

In 1969, the Preservation Society of Newport County bought the house and its 17 acre property. The Preservation Society continues to own and care for it to date, as one of nearly a dozen properties it manages.

It was not until 2006 that it was designated a National Historic Landmark. It is considered to have been Newport's first grand mansion on Bellevue Avenue.

The Preservation Society offers tours of this mansion on its own or as art of Newport Mansion package tours that it offers together with some of the other historic homes in its care. Eight other historic mansions are in the immediate vicinity of the Chateau along the length of Bellevue Avenue and surrounding blocks.

From April 15 through October 31 the mansion is open to visitors on a daily basis, from 10 AM until 5 PM. In the remaining months it is only open on Saturday and Sunday with the same hours.

The central hall in the Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport, RI, is 45 feet high with stained glass skylights. The fireplaces vary with some surrounded by Carrera marble and others with carved wooden frames. They are part of the original design as are the wooden carvings and Parquet floors. The house is filled with European furniture styled on what was once found here and Chinese antiques brought by the home's original owner. The original furnishings are on display in Philadelphia.

Large trees surround the hilltop mansion.

Outside of the Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport, RI, street parking is available. Local trolley and bus lines pass here making this site easily accessible for locals and visitors alike.

Several Newport restaurants are in easy walking distance from this attraction for sight seers as well as Newport's premiere boutiques and art galleries.

This mansion and surrounding mansions are considered symbols of the Gilded Age although today the town they are located in is slightly below the average median income level in the state. Paradoxically the values of homes in Newport continue to be higher than they are on the average in Rhode Island.

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