The Elms, Newport, RI, is located at 367 Bellevue Avenue, in this city of around 25,000 inhabitants that is located about 60 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.
It is one of the many Gilded Age estates found in this seaside settlement that is in this neighborhood. Today, the town where this historic mansion and others are located, 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.
When first erected, the Elms served as the summer home to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Berwind had made it big in the coal industry of Pennsylvania. He hired Horace Trumbauer, a Philadelphia architect, to design the house modeled after the 1750 French chateau d'Asnieres. For $1.4 million the mansion was completed in 1901, more than 2 years after Trumbauer was awarded the job.
Interiors and furnishings designed by Allard and Sons of Paris can still be seen in this house as well as the collection of artwork assembled by the Berwinds. Renaissance ceramics, Oriental jade works and 18th century French and Venetian paintings are on display here.
Classical Revival gardens on the grounds at the Elms, Newport, RI, are home to sculptures of bronze and marble, fountains and pavilions that were recently restored to appear as they did when first installed between the years of 1907 and 1914.
Since 1961, the Preservation Society of Newport County has owned this house and maintained and managed it along with various nearby mansions. It is recognized as a National Historic Landmark since 1996.
At the Elms, Newport, RI, street parking is available. Local trolley and bus lines pass along Bellevue making the location easily accessible.
Many of Newport's restaurants, galleries and shopping boutiques are located nearby on Bellevue Avenue as well, the same street as the Elms.
The building is wheelchair accessible and there are devices for the hearing impaired to be able to enjoy a tour of the building and its collections. It can be toured on its own or visited as part of the package mansion visits called the Newport Mansions Experience that is also offered by the Preservation Society.
There is a behind the scenes tour available at the Elms as well, in order to see the mansion from the eyes of the house staff that serviced the Berwinds and their guests. In good weather, this tour includes a visit to the roof, which has a spectacular view of the 10 acre estate that the house sits upon. This tour is not wheelchair accessible unlike the regular house tour.
From January 5th through April 3rd, the house is open on weekends and holidays only, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Throughout the rest of the year it is open daily, although the behind the scenes tour is limited to the warmer months.
From May 16th to October 12th, the Carriage House caf, is open for lunch and snacks, from 10 AM until 4 PM.