“Gilded mansion in Newport, RI”
Marble House is a Gilded Age mansion at 596 Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, now open to the public as a museum run by the Preservation Society of Newport County. It was designed by the society architect Richard Morris Hunt. For an American house, it was unparalleled in design and opulence when it was built. Its temple-front portico, which also serves as a porte-cochère, has been compared to that of the White House.HistoryThe 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 of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet (14,000 m³) of marble. William Vanderbilt's older brother Cornelius Vanderbilt II subsequently built the largest of the Newport cottages, The Breakers, between 1893 and 1895.When Alva Vanderbilt divorced William in 1895, she already owned Marble House outright, having received it as her 39th birthday present. Upon her remarriage in 1896 to Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, she relocated down the street to Belmont's mansion, Belcourt. After his death, she reopened Marble House and added the Chinese Tea House on the seaside cliff, where she hosted rallies for women's suffrage.
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