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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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  • There is a guided tour of this house; however, there wasn't a strict/reliable schedule. It seemed to be based on waiting for a certain number of people before doing a tour. The tour guide was very kno...  more »
  • I don't know about all the tour guides but we had an excellent tour of the mansion. The guide was engaging, informative and knowledgeable of the history of the mansion and Newport.  more »
  • We really enjoyed our tour of Chateau-sur-Mer. We arrived on a rainy Monday in Newport and decided to take this tour. The mansion is modest in comparison to The Breakers, etc.; however the home is qui...  more »
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  • We we're here for the Newport Music Festival which is a terrific chamber music festival now in it's 49thyear.
  • The inside was really interesting, but the tree garden outside was the highlight. Be sure to check out the monkey gate.
  • 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.
  • Beautiful house, I spent a wonderful time and really interested the history. Excellent job of the man who explain everything about the house.
  • 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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