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Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport

4.2
#8 of 17 in Historic Sites in Newport
Chateau-sur-Mer is the first of the grand Bellevue Avenue mansions of the Gilded Age in Newport, Rhode Island. Located at 424 Bellevue Avenue, it is now owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County, and is open to the public as a museum. Chateau-sur-Mer's grand scale and lavish parties ushered in the Gilded Age of Newport, as it was the most palatial residence in Newport until the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.Description and historyChateau-sur-Mer was completed in 1852 as an Italianate villa for William Shepard Wetmore, a merchant in the China trade, who was born on January 26, 1801, in St. Albans, Vermont. The architect and builder was Seth C. Bradford; the structure is a landmark of Victorian architecture, furniture, wallpapers, ceramics and stenciling. Mr. Wetmore died on June 16, 1862, at Chateau-sur-Mer, leaving the bulk of his fortune to his son, George Peabody Wetmore. George later married Edith Keteltas in 1869. During the 1870s, the Wetmores departed on an extended trip to Europe, leaving architect Richard Morris Hunt to remodel and redecorate the house in the French Second Empire style. As a result, Chateau-sur-Mer displays most of the major design trends of the last half of the 19th century. The house is constructed of Fall River Granite. Hunt's alterations greatly expanded the house, adding a new three-story wing, a porte-cochere, and a projecting four-story tower with mansard roof. The carriage house was also enlarged, in a manner sympathetic to Bradford's original design. Hunt also designed the entrance gate of the estate, which are somewhat Greek Revival in style, but with posts modeled after Egyptian obelisks.
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Chateau-sur-Mer Reviews
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  • October 3, 2017
    This is an older house that shows the wealthy lifestyle before the excess of the Vanderbilt’s. It’s still a large house and a good contrast to the even larger cottages. The wood carving in the office ...  more »
  • October 2, 2017
    A Victorian mansion that is characterized by lots of wooden details, including intricately hand-carved wood trim. Different from the other "gilded" mansions, but worth the tour, which is lead by a doc...  more »
  • October 1, 2017
    A guided tour is provided, which help immensely. Our guide had good knowledge of the house the that families who lived there, without which, this would have been a short and uninteresting visit. We ch...  more »
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  • July 8, 2017
    We we're here for the Newport Music Festival which is a terrific chamber music festival now in it's 49thyear.
  • June 20, 2017
    The inside was really interesting, but the tree garden outside was the highlight. Be sure to check out the monkey gate.
  • May 22, 2017
    I would have enjoyed the tour more if it wasn't guided. The other mansions have self-guided, audio tours. This one dragged on because the guide gave impertinent facts. Boring.
  • April 10, 2017
    Beautiful house, I spent a wonderful time and really interested the history. Excellent job of the man who explain everything about the house.
  • September 24, 2016
    Amazing house. Each of the rooms were beautifully decorated with gorgeous woodwork, furnishings and rich wall coverings. A great contrast from the over-the-top gilded mansions

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