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Newport Top 40
Historic Sites

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Captain Vic's

Top 40
Newport, RI, Historic Sites

Captain Vic's impartial advice was right, at the time this page was written ... but dates change, places get overcrowded, staff doesn't show up, funny things happen in Newport depending on the weather and events.

Captain Vic guarantees nothing ... but adventure when you explore Newport. Call ahead to confirm items on your busy schedule.

  • ABRAHAM RODRIGUES RIVERA HOUSE. Washington Square. In this building (then the residence of Deputy Governor John Gardiner) the Reverend James Manning, in July, 1763, met with interested citizens and first made the design known to establish a college in the English colony of Rhode Island, which eventually became Brown University.
  • ARTILLERY COMPANY OF NEWPORT, MILITARY MUSEUM. (1836) Armory, 23 Clarke St. The museum has an outstanding collection of foreign and domestic militaria. Started in 1960, it represents over one hundred countries. The command, Rhode Island Militia chartered in 1741, is the nation's oldest military organization in continuous service under its charter. OPEN: Jun-Sep, Wed-Sun, 10-4 p.m.; Sun, 12 noon-4 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 846-8488.
  • THE ASTORS' BEECHWOOD MANSION. (1856) 580 Bellevue Ave. Summer home of William Backhouse and The Mrs. Astor. Costumed actors re-create the fabulous 1890's lifestyle by remaining in character and treating visitors as if they were personal guests of Mrs. Astor, the then Queen of American society. Living history tours, murder mystery tours, private parties, teas, luncheons and weddings. OPEN: May 15-Oct 31, daily, 10-5 p.m.; Nov 1-Dec 16, daily, 10-4 p.m. Weekends, Feb-mid-May, 10-4 p.m. 846-3772.
  • BELCOURT CASTLE. (1894) Bellevue Ave. Louis XIII-style castle designed by Richard Morris Hunt for Oliver H.P. Belmont and the former Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt. Exhibits a full-size gold Coronation Coach and the largest collection of antiques and treasures in Newport. OPEN: Jan-Mar, Nov & Dec, Mon-Fri, 10-3 p.m., Sat & Sun, 10-4 p.m.; Apr-mid-Jun & Mid-Sep to Oct, 10-5 p.m. Mid-Jun to Mid-Sep, daily 9-5 p.m. 846-0669.
  • BOWEN'S WHARF. America's Cup Ave. This restored waterfront combines shopping, restaurant and marine districts with cobblestone and brick walkways and a rich blend of 18th, 19th & 20th century history and architecture. OPEN: Summer hours: Mon-Sat, 10-10 p.m.; Sun, 12-7 p.m. Winter hours: Mon-Fri, 10-5:30 p.m.; Sun, 12-5 p.m. 849-2243.
  • THE BREAKERS. (1895) Ochre Point Ave. Newport's most palatial summer residence was built for Cornelius Vanderbilt by Richard Morris Hunt (1893-1895). The symmetry of design, opulence and lavish use of alabaster, marble, mosaics, and antique woods rival the magnificent northern Italian Renaissance palaces after which it was modeled. The 70-room mansion overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. OPEN: Apr 1-Oct 31, 10-5 p.m.; Jul-Labor Day, Sat. until 6 p.m. Decorated for the holidays, Dec, 10-4 p.m.; Nov-Mar, weekends, 10-4 p.m. 847-1000.
  • THE BREAKERS' STABLE AND CARRIAGE HOUSE. (1895) Coggeshall Ave. Built in 1895 by Richard Morris Hunt, this incredible building, fully equipped and staffed, was an extremely important addition to The Breakers. A private collection of various Vanderbilt memorabilia, including the famous coach Venture, is on display. Jul-Sep, weekends, 10-5 p.m. 847-1000.
  • BRICK MARKET. (1762) Long Wharf and Thames St. Designed by Peter Harrison and used initially as a market and granary, this restored area now offers a variety of shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
  • CASTLE HILL COAST GUARD STATION. (1940) Ocean Drive. Individual visitors and groups welcome by appointment. 846-3676.
  • CHANNING MEMORIAL CHURCH. (1880) 135 Pelham St. Dedicated to William Ellery Channing, leader of American Unitarianism and anti-Slavery movement. Built largely of porphyritic granite. Stained glass windows by John LaFarge and Donald MacDonald; bronze plaque by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Church of Julia Ward Howe, author of Battle Hymn of the Republic. Sunday worship, 10 a.m. OPEN: By appt. 846-0643.
  • CLIFF WALK. Begins at Memorial Blvd. Picturesque walk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and adjoining many famous Newport summer mansions. Designated a National Recreation Trail in 1975.
  • EDWARD KING HOUSE. (c. 1846) Aquidneck Park, 35 King St. Designed by Richard Upjohn for Edward King, the mansion is one of the finest villas of Italianate design in America. Now a Senior Citizen's Center. OPEN: Year-round, Mon-Fri, 9-4 p.m. Arts and crafts shop. 846-7426.
  • THE ELMS. (1901) Bellevue Ave. Magnificent estate of the late E.J. Berwind, Philadelphia coal magnate. Designed by Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer and modeled after the early 18th century Chateau of Asnieres near Paris. Formal sunken garden designed by French landscape architect, Jacques Greber. Decorated for Christmas in December. OPEN: Apr, Sat & Sun, 10-4 p.m.; May 1-Oct 31, daily 10-5 p.m.; Nov-Mar, Sat-Sun, 10-4 p.m. 847-1000.
  • FORT ADAMS STATE PARK. Ocean Drive. The second largest bastioned fort in the U.S. was key to Narragansett Bay area defenses, 1799 to 1945. Designed to be the most heavily armed fort in America and to garrison 2,400 troops. Sprawling over 21 acres, its extensive landward defenses include listening tunnels, powder magazines, and breast height walls. Park is closed from sunset to sunrise. 847-2400.
  • FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE. (1699) 21 Farewell St. The oldest religious structure in Newport. The Quakers were the dominant religious group for the first 100 years of the Colony's history; and as late as 1730, over half of the people in Newport were members of the society. OPEN: By appt. only. 846-0813.
  • HAMMERSMITH FARM. (1887) Harrison Ave. (Ocean Drive). 28-room cedar-shingled cottage located on the East Passage ofNarragansett Bay and surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. Summer home of the Auchincloss family for four generations, Hammersmith was the setting for daughter Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy's wedding reception. Often referred to as the "Summer White House" (1961-63), the mansion is no longer open to the public and is best seen from the water.
  • HUNTER HOUSE. (1748) 54 Washington St., near Goat Island Causeway. Exhibition of Newport's original and famous Townsend-Goddard furniture, silver, and portraits of the period. Revolutionary War headquarters of French Admiral de Ternay. Restored 18th century garden. OPEN: Apr, Sat & Sun, 10-5 p.m.; May 1-Sep 30, daily, 10-5 p.m., weekends in October. 847-1000.
  • INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME. (1880) 194 Bellevue Ave. The world's largest tennis museum is housed in historic the Newport Casino. Site of first U.S. National Championships in 1881. Museum features displays and memorabilia covering over a century of tennis history. Tour the grounds and buildings which have all been restored to their original elegance. The Casino's historic grass courts host major professional tennis tournaments each summer and are available to the public. OPEN: Year round 10-5 p.m. 849-3990, 849-6053.
  • KINGSCOTE. (1839) Bellevue Ave. Charming Gothic-revival cottage built in 1839 by Richard Upjohn as a summer residence for George Noble Jones of Savannah. Considered the nation's first summer cottage. House features a McKim, Mead, and White dining room, added in 1881, with Tiffany glass wall and cork ceiling. Exhibits Townsend-Goddard furniture and Chinese export paintings and porcelains. OPEN: Apr, Sat & Sun, 10-5 p.m.; May 1-Sep 30, daily, 10-5 p.m.; weekends in Oct. 847-1000.
  • MARBLE HOUSE. (1892) Bellevue Ave. Mansion built for William K. Vanderbilt. Louis XIV-period predominates. Building captures features of the Grand and Petit Trianons at Versailles. Harold S. Vanderbilt Memorial Room has yachting trophies and memorabilia. Chinese Tea House (l9l3-l9l4) on grounds. Tea house open only May-Oct. OPEN: Apr-Oct 31, daily, 10-5 p.m.; Nov-Mar, Sat & Sun, 10-4 p.m. 847-1000.
  • THE MUSEUM OF YACHTING. Fort Adams State Park. Housed in a 19th century brick building on the waterfront, the museum chronicles the history of yachting through its displays of photos, paintings, memorabilia, various vessels and in-water displays. Galleries include: The Mansions & the Yachts; Small Craft Gallery; Hall of Fame for Singlehanded Sailing; America's Cup Gallery. OPEN: May 15 - Oct 31, 10-5 p.m. daily. 847-1018.
  • NAVAL WAR COLLEGE MUSEUM. (1820) 86 Cushing Road E. In Founders Hall, 19th Century Newport Poorhouse (1820-82), original site of the world's first Naval War College (1884). Exhibits on the history of naval warfare and the naval heritage of Narragansett Bay. Public access through Gate 1 of the Naval Education and Training Center. OPEN: Year-round, Mon-Fri,10-4 p.m.; Jun-Sep, Sat & Sun, 12-4 p.m. Closed holidays. 841-4052, Ext. 1317.
  • NEWPORT ART MUSEUM AND ART ASSOCIATION. 76 Bellevue Ave. Founded in 1912 by a group of prominent artists, it is housed in the former Griswold Mansion (1864), designed by Richard Morris Hunt (the architect of many Newport mansions) in the Stick Style, and the Cushing Memorial Gallery (1921). Changing exhibitions cover contemporary and historical art of Newport and New England. The museum offers art classes, lectures, tours, performing arts events, and evening musical picnics. OPEN: Sep 12-May 28, Tue-Sat, 10-4 p.m.; Sun, 12-4 p.m. May 29-Sep 10, open daily, 10-5 p.m. 848-8200.
  • NEWPORT CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH. (1860) Spring and Pelham Sts. Congregation gathered 1695. Decorated by John LaFarge around 1880. OPEN: Memorial Day-Labor Day, Tue & Thu, 10-12 p.m., or by appt. 849-2238.
  • NEWPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 82 Touro St. Society is a resource center for the study and appreciation of Newport's history. Museum with changing exhibitions of photographs, paintings, Townsend-Goddard furniture, silver and china. Research facilities include library and archival manuscript materials with earliest town records, merchant account books, and important collections in architectural history and photography. OPEN: Jun 15-Aug 31, Tue-Sat, 9:30 to 4:30 p.m., but closes Sat at 12 noon rest of year. 846-0813.
  • OLD COLONY HOUSE. (1739) Washington Sq. Nation's second oldest capitol building, used for the General Assembly's Newport sessions until 1900. The first Roman Catholic Masses in Rhode Island were celebrated here, 1780-81, by the Abbe DeGlesnon, French Army chaplain under Count de Rochambeau. The Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from its second floor balcony. Washington, Jefferson, Lafayette, Jackson, Eisenhower, and other distinguished Americans were entertained here. OPEN: By appt. only. 846-2980, 277-6790.
  • OLD STONE MILL. Touro Park. Much time and effort have been spent to determine the mill's origin. Most popular theory is that it was built by Norsemen before Columbus' voyage.
  • REDWOOD LIBRARY AND ATHENAEUM. (1748-50) 50 Bellevue Ave. Oldest library building in America. Outstanding collection of 18th and 19th century portraits. OPEN: Mon-Sat, 9:30-5:30 p.m. 847-0292.
  • ROSECLIFF. (1902) Bellevue Ave. Overlooking famous Cliff Walk and Atlantic Ocean. Built for Hermann Oelrichs. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White; modeled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles. Features Newport's largest private ballroom. Scene of several movies including "True Lies" in 1994. OPEN: Apr-Oct 31, daily, 10-5 p.m. 847-1000.
  • SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY. 100 Ochre Point Ave. The administration building, Ochre Court (1888-91), was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Visitors are invited to stroll the seaside campus rimmed by the Cliff Walk, view the exteriors of 20 19th-century buildings, and tour the first floor of Ochre Court. OPEN: Mon-Fri, 9-4 p.m. 847-6650, Ext. 2347.
  • SAMUEL WHITEHORNE HOUSE. 416 Thames St. This Federal-period house displays furniture, silver, and pewter made by Newport's artisans from 1740-1840. OPEN: May-Oct, Tue-Thu, by appointment.; Fri, 1-4 p.m.; Sat, Sun, Mon, and holidays, 10-4 p.m. 847-2448, 849-7300, 849-7301.
  • SEVENTH DAY BAPTIST MEETING HOUSE. (1729) 82 Touro St. Built in 1729, possibly by Richard Munday, the Meeting House is the oldest of its faith in America and contains a beautiful pulpit and William Claggett clock. OPEN: Call for hours and appts. 846-0813.
  • St. MARY'S CHURCH. Spring St. Oldest Roman Catholic parish in Rhode Island, established April 8, 1828. Location of wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Sept. 12, l953. OPEN: Mon-Fri, 7:00-11:30 a.m. Closed holidays. 847-0475.
  • TOURO SYNAGOGUE. (1763) 85 Touro St. Oldest synagogue on North American continent. Designed by Peter Harrison. Symbol of religious freedom throughout the world. Oldest torah in North America on display. George Washington letter, 1790. Services in summer, Fri, 7 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.; rest of year, Fri, 6 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m. Summer- daily, subject to daily conditions. OPEN: May-Jun, Mon-Thu 1-3 p.m. Late Jun-Labor Day, Sun-Thu, 10-5 p.m.; Fri, 10-3 p.m. Sep-Oct. 15, Mon-Thu 1-3 p.m. Other times, Sun, 1-3 p.m., and by appt. 847-4794.
  • TRINITY CHURCH. (1725-26) Queen Anne Sq., Spring and Church Sts. Parish founded 1698. Washington worshipped here in Pew 81. Features only three-tiered, wine glass pulpit in America. Organ tested by Handel before sent from England by philosopher Bishop George Berkeley. Queen Elizabeth II and the Archbishop of Canterbury visited in 1976. Tiffany stained glass windows. $3 million rehabilitation completed in 1987 to original specifications. The church has been in use since 1726. OPEN: May, daily, 1-4 p.m.; Jun 15-Labor Day, 10-4 p.m.; Sep 8-Apr 30, 10-1 p.m.; Sun worship (Episcopal), 8 & 11 a.m. (summer, 8 & 10 a.m.). 846-0660.
  • WANTON-LYMAN-HAZARD HOUSE. (1675) 17 Broadway near Washington Square. Oldest restored house in Newport. Home of Colonial governors, Tories, patriots, Supreme Court Justices, and site of the Stamp Act riot of 1765. OPEN: Call for hours 846-0813.
  • WHITE HORSE TAVERN. (1673) corner of Marlborough and Farewell Sts. Oldest continuously operating tavern in America. 849-3600.
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