Blog, Newport

Marble House, Newport, Part One


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Marble House, Newport
The entrance to the home

Highlight on Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island

This is another original gilded age mansion in the affluent city of Newport, Rhode Island. A lot of prominent families during this time has summer homes here – which they called “Cottages”. I recently wrote about The Breakers in Newport. This is another Vanderbilt residence. It’s photo friendly, $15 for multiple household tours if you buy a package. Expect to spend 1-2 hours here and wear comfortable clothing! There is a gorgeous cafe at this one, overlooking Easton Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. A Chinese tea house (original from the 1800s) overlooks the ocean and has coffee and snacks. Restrooms available.

Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt.  It was a summer house, or “cottage”, as Newporters called them in remembrance of the modest houses of the early 19th century.

Scroll down for more photos in this travel blog on Marble House, part one! Part two, tomorrow!

COST: $11 Million

Gifted to Mrs Vanderbilt as a 39th birthday gift.

More About Newport

Newport is a city set on Aquidneck Island in the New England state of Rhode Island. Its yacht-filled harbor hosted the America’s Cup, a renowned annual sailing regatta, for many years. Newport is also known for the Gilded Age mansions lining Bellevue Avenue, some of which are now museums. The most famous is The Breakers, an 1895 mansion patterned after a Renaissance palace.

What they call “The Gothic Room”
Marble House, Newport
The Dining Room – The chairs are so heavy they need two people to lift them 
It was a social and architectural landmark that set the pace for Newport’s subsequent transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to the legendary resort of opulent stone palaces.
Mr. Vanderbilt was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who established the  family’s fortune in steamships and the New York Central Railroad.
His older brother was Cornelius II, who built The Breakers.
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Alva Vanderbilt was a leading hostess in Newport society, and envisioned Marble House as her “temple to the arts” in America.
The house was designed by the architect Richard Morris Hunt, inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.
The cost of the house was reported in contemporary press accounts to be $11 million, of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet of marble.
The Vanderbilts had 3 children: Consuelo became the 9th Duchess of Marlborough, William K. Jr. became a prominent figure in pioneering the sport of auto racing in America + Harold became one of the finest yachtsmen of his era who successfully defended the America’s Cup three times.
The Vanderbilts divorced in 1895 and Alva married Oliver H.P. Belmont, moving down the street to Belcourt. After his death, she reopened Marble House, and had a Chinese Tea House built on the seaside cliffs, where she hosted rallies for women’s right to vote.
On my way to check out the mansions!
Alva sold the house to Frederick H. Prince in 1932.
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The Preservation Society acquired the house in 1963 from the Prince estate.  In 2006, Marble House was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Marble House, Newport

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