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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.
Explore 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.
Episode Deep Dive
Learn about the people, places and events depicted in Julian Fellowes' popular historical drama series.
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Become a Member
We invite you to become a member of the Preservation Society today. In addition to joining an active community of preservation supporters and advocates, members are offered unlimited access to all open houses.
Our mission is to protect, preserve, and present the best of Newport County's architectural heritage. Learn more about us and our work.
Personal Photography on the Grounds
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Museum Rentals & Weddings
Host your wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate event, or other celebration at our historic museums.
The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind, whose fortune was made in the coal industry. Architect Horace Trumbauer modeled it after the 18th-century French chateau d’Asnieres outside Paris.
Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1.4 million. The interiors and furnishings were designed by Allard and Sons of Paris and were the setting for the Berwinds’ collection of Renaissance ceramics, 18th century French and Venetian paintings, and Oriental jades.
The elaborate Classical Revival gardens on the grounds were developed between 1907 and 1914. They include terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a park of fine specimen trees and a lavish lower garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden and carriage house and garage. These gardens were recently restored.
Mrs. Berwind died in 1922, and Mr. Berwind invited his sister, Julia, to become his hostess at his New York and Newport houses. Mr. Berwind died in 1936 and Miss Julia continued to summer at The Elms until her death in 1961, at which time the house and most of its contents were sold at public auction. The Preservation Society of Newport County purchased The Elms in 1962 and opened the house to the public. In 1996, The Elms was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind
Ownership transferred to the Preservation Society
The Elms was modeled after an 18th-century French chateau but featured the latest technology of the Gilded Age. It houses an outstanding collection of paintings, statuary and tapestries, and its landscape features formal gardens, terraces, pavilions and fountains.
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