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History of Newport and the Mansions
Founded in 1639, Newport was an important port city, a center of the slave trade, a fashionable resort and the summer home of the Gilded Age rich.
What was the Gilded Age?
The Gilded Age was a period of unprecedented change in America. Fortunes were spent on luxuries such as the lavish "summer cottages" of Newport.
Deep Dive into the Show
Learn about the people, places and events depicted in Julian Fellowes' popular historical drama series.
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Wind Farm Federal Appeal: FAQs
The Preservation Society of Newport County is appealing federal agency approval of two massive wind farms off the Rhode Island coast.
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☞ The Elms Kitchen again is shown as the Russells’ kitchen.
☞ The Breakers Music Room again appears as the Russells’ ballroom on two occasions. Mrs. Russell plans to have a band playing in the alcove, which is the reason for the room’s design.
☞ Oscar van Rhijn to Marian Brook: “We are taking the ferry and train to Newport.” He should have said, “the train and ferry to Newport.” Newport is on an island. Even though there was railway expansion onto the island via bridge in the 1860s, that was on the north end of the island and the railway was largely for transportation of goods. People, especially from New York, made their way here by ship, the most popular being The Fall River Line.The front façade of Rosecliff appears as the exterior of Mrs. Chamberlain’s house in New York. In contrast to Rosecliff’s real setting, with an expansive front lawn and plenty of space between it and its neighbors, “The Gilded Age” uses CGI (computer generated imagery) technology to make the house abut a city street with a brownstone building right next to it.
☞ Agnes van Rhijn: “Why does everyone have to go to Newport now? What’s wrong with Saratoga Springs? It was very fashionable when I was a bride.” Newport has supplanted Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as a resort for the wealthy.
☞ Beechwood, Mrs. Astor’s house in Newport, was originally built by Calvert Vaux and Andrew Jackson Downing (landscape), two of the great architects of the mid-19th century, and completed around 1853 for Daniel Parish. It was bought by the Astors in 1881 and heavily renovated with the help of Richard Morris Hunt, who designed Marble House and The Breakers.
☞ The Newport home of Ward McAllister is far too grand. He rented small cottages in Newport and owned a farm in Middletown, Bayside Farm. The home shown as his is the real-life Wrentham House in Newport, also known as Indian Springs. It was built between 1887-1892, about a decade after the show’s setting of 1882. Richard Morris Hunt was the architect, Frederick Law Olmsted the landscape designer.
☞ To “keep up” with society, in addition to their farm in Middletown, the McAllisters rented cottages in Newport on Ruggles Avenue, Coggeshall Avenue and the Lyman Cottage on Leroy Avenue.
☞ The Newport Casino was a relatively new club at this time, built between 1879 and 1881 by McKim, Mead and White for James Gordon Bennett Jr., who reportedly started the private club as a rebellious act following his expulsion from The Reading Room, once considered America’s most exclusive gentleman’s club.
☞ John Adams mentions staying with the Wetmores, whose Newport home was Chateau-sur-Mer. In the early 1880s, George Peabody Wetmore and Edith Keteltas Wetmore were in their 30s with four young children: Edith, Maude, William and Rogers.
☞ The Cushing House is the setting for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish. However, their real house was just across the street and still stands: Crossways on Ocean Avenue. This imposing Georgian-style mansion was completed in 1897 and has now been divided into condominiums.
☞ What is represented as Beechwood, the Newport home of Mrs. Astor, is a composite of three extant Newport homes: Chateau-sur-Mer (exteriors, shown above), Belcourt Castle (first floor) and Marble House (kitchen and scullery). The real Beechwood still stands on Bellevue Avenue and is privately owned.
☞ Why wouldn’t the Astors entertain someone “like” Mrs. Jay Gould? The Goulds were ostracized from the social networks of New York because they were Jewish. Sadly, antisemitism was very common in the Gilded Age.
In 1882, Marian arrives at the home of her “old money” aunts Agnes and Ada, whose new neighbors vie to break into New York high society.
Marian receives a visit from Tom Raikes, whose legal advice Peggy seeks. The Russells take center stage at a charity bazaar.
George faces a surprise development. Marian sees Mr. Raikes against Agnes’ wishes. Ada runs into an old friend. Peggy gets an opportunity.
Marian learns more about Mrs. Chamberlain. George makes a deal to benefit Bertha. Peggy meets a trailblazing newspaperman.
Bertha, Marian, Aurora, and Peggy make an overnight trip to see Clara Barton speak. Gladys’ desired beau is invited to dinner.
Mr. McAllister’s visit to the Russells shakes the aunts’ household. George aims to control the narrative. Marian considers her feelings.
As a historic moment captures the city, Agnes vows to protect her family’s reputation, while Larry’s career plans rub George the wrong way.
Marian’s grand plan is threatened. Bertha and Mrs. Astor lock horns over Gladys’ debut. Peggy is stunned by a major reveal.
Agnes shares news of her nephew Dashiell's imminent arrival in New York. Bertha decides to back the new Metropolitan Opera House.
Kingscote makes its debut as the home of widow Blane, with whom Larry starts an affair. Peggy is welcomed back to the van Rhijn house by almost everyone. Oscar's hopes are dashed, while Marian fends off a suitor.
A surprising guest attends Bertha's fundraiser and starts trouble. Larry begins renovations at Mrs. Blane’s house, aka Kingscote. Peggy presses her editor to let her go to Tuskegee. Oscar Wilde charms society, but his play does not.
Bertha angles for position with the visiting Duke of Buckingham. With Marian’s help, Ada continues to see Mr. Forte. Peggy travels to Alabama and meets Booker T. Washington. Mr. Russell is confronted by angry critics of his labor practices.
The Marble House Dining Room is the setting for Bertha Russell’s dinner for the Duke of Buckingham. Peggy narrowly escapes danger in Alabama. Ada’s engagement causes conflict between her and Agnes.
Bertha’s opera house project is far from harmonious. George goes to Pittsburgh to deal with a potential strike by his steel mill workers. Peggy takes up the cause of schooling for Black children in New York City.
As New York celebrates a historic event, Bertha reconsiders her loyalty to the Met while Marian has doubts about her future.
Marian confesses her true feelings. Jack receives welcome news. Bertha and Mrs. Astor make their final moves in the opera war.
Parking is free onsite at all properties except for Hunter House and The Breakers Stable & Carriage House, where street parking is available.
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