The Breakers – if you only have time to see one mansion/summer cottage, this the THE one to visit.
From wikipedia: ” The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island. The Breakers was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Breakers is the architectural and social archetype of the ‘Gilded Age’ a period when members of the Vanderbilt family were among the major industrialists of America. Vanderbilt was the President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad, and was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Commodore made the family fortune in the steamship and railroad industries.In 1895, the year of its completion, The Breakers was the largest, most opulent house in the Newport area.”
This was the original Breakers which was destroyed by fire in 1892. A modest summer cottage…
Vanderbilt commissioned famed architect Richard Morris Hunt to rebuild it and insisted that the building be made as fireproof as possible and as such, the structure of the building used steel trusses and no wooden parts.
And this is the Breakers in 1895… somewhat different from the original, wouldn’t you say.
Great hall …
Around the ‘cottage’… 2 sitting rooms – music room – library – bathroom – dining room.
In the library the fireplace, taken from a 16th-century French chateau bears the inscription “I laugh at great wealth, and never miss it; nothing but wisdom matters in the end.”
Back of grand staircase – ceiling – gilded door – portrait – platinum wall paper – chandelier.
‘The kitchen, unlike others in the time period, was situated on the first floor away from the main house to prevent the possibility of fires and cooking smells reaching the main parts of the house.’ You can understand why after the original Breakers burned down that they’d want the kitchen further away. This kitchen is gorgeous, it could even tempt me to whip up a cake or something. Maybe.
The grounds … you never know what you might see out there 🙂
The Breakers is amazing… not just in its beauty and opulence but in the thought and foresight that went into building it.
As you may have guessed from the clues in the previous post ‘April Road Trip’.. our trip was to Newport, Rhode Island to visit the mansions of the Gilded Age. And gilded they were.
Mansion #1- Marble House.
According to Wikipedia : “The mansion was built as a summer “cottage” retreat between 1888 and 1892 for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. It was a social landmark that helped spark the transformation of Newport from a relatively relaxed summer colony of wooden houses to the now legendary resort of opulent stone palaces. The fifty-room mansion required a staff of 36 servants, including butlers, maids, coachmen, and footmen. The mansion cost $11 million ($260,000,000 in 2009 dollars) of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet (14,000 m³) of marble.”
The tours are audio guided which lets you progress at your own speed… also now photos are allowed with smart phones. You can use SLR’s without flash with written permission when you get there. I used my SLR digital camera as well as my smart phone. Let’s step inside now and begin the tour of Marble House…
Foyer and staircase….
Around the house..
Alva was big in the Women’s Suffrage movement, you can find this ‘Votes for Women’ china in the gift shop.
One cannot leave Marble House without walking around the grounds and visiting the Chinese Tea House on the back lawn.
This is only a sampling of the many pictures we took. This house, escuse me ‘summer cottage’ is incredibly beautiful and interesting. To read more about it and the original owners, William Kissam Vanderbilt and his eclectic and interesting wife Alva… CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
Coming next… the ultimate ‘summer cottage’. Can you guess which it is ?