Rivaled in legacy perhaps only by its maritime history, Newport is synonymous with its legendary Gilded Age mansions, or "summer cottages," as they were ironically dubbed at the time. Bellevue Avenue is the main artery of this irrefutably jaw-dropping part of the City by the Sea, peppered with seasonal homes built by the nation's most celebrated architects. These include Carrère and Hastings, best known for building the New York Public Library, but also Vernon Court in Newport. Today the home does double duty as both a private residence and home to the National Museum of American Illustration.
Horace Trumbauer, who built much of the campus of Duke University, also built The Elms on Bellevue Avenue. Stanford White, who built the famed ornate arch at NYC's Washington Square and the Boston Public Library, also designed Rosecliff on Newport’s Bellevue Avenue. Finally, the famed Richard Morris Hunt built the John N. A. Griswold House, a National Historic Landmark and the current home of the Newport Art Museum. It is regarded in architectural history as one of the first American Stick Style buildings.
While many of the homes in the mansion district are still single family, a good portion has been divided up into condominiums, thus a coveted Bellevue Avenue address isn't as far out of reach as many may think. Sky-high ceilings, ornate moldings and architectural details, and oversized windows are commonplace in these homes and condos, plus many dwellings are converted carriage houses and in some cases, former stables, which makes this neighborhood one of Newport, Rhode Island’s most unique.