474 Bellevue Ave.
Newport, Rhode Island
Last October my parents came up for my birthday and offered to take me anywhere I wanted to go. I suggested Newport, and Chateau-sur-Mer in particular.
As you can see from the photo, it was a beautiful, clear day. We really enjoyed the tour, and I'd count the Chateau as my favorite of the mansions I've seen so far. Bear is still loyal to Marble House.
The house is far "homier" than the other mansions, although no less luxurious. It has more of a warm, lived-in feel to me, which is probably because it was built as a year-round home, where the later "cottages" were only summer plates. It was also built about 40 years earlier than the other big Vanderbilt mansions, which may have something to do with it.
In fact, Chateau-sur-Mer was built in 1852 for William Shepard Wetmore who died a short ten years later. William left the mansion to his son, George. George went on to serve in the Senate and as Governor of Rhode Island. He and his wife Edith traveled extensively in Europe and brought back a lot of decor items for the house, so that the tour represents nearly fifty years of decor trends.
The house is granite brick Victorian in the Italian style. Originally the mansard roofs were flat and the central tower had a spire. The remodeling was done by Richard Morris Hunt, the architect of many later Newport landmarks, including Marble House, Ochre Point, Wrentham House, Belcourt Castle and The Breakers.
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