Love the grand setting of Jay Gatsby's mansion where Gatsby (Robert Redford) hosted his extravagant jazz parties in 1974 version of The Great Gatsby? (Last year's, with Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed in Sydney.) Then you'll enjoy the sheer opulence of these five Newport mansions, all falling under the umbrella of the Preservation Society of Newport County.
The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's domination in turn-of-the-century America. The original Breakers was a wooden house, destroyed in a fire. To replace it, in the late 1800s, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, chairman and president of the New York Central Railroad, commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to direct an international team of craftsmen to create this 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo inspired by the 16th-century palaces of Genoa and Turin.
Marble House was also built in the late 1800s for members of the Vanderbilt family. It was a summer house, or "cottage", as Newporters called them in remembrance of the modest houses of the early 19th century. This social and architectural landmark set the pace for Newport's transformation from sleepy summer holiday spot to a resort of opulent stone palaces. Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Marble House, inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Upon its completion, the owner gave the house to his wife as a 39th birthday present.
In the late 1800s, the Berwind family of Philadelphia and New York, who made their fortune in the Pennsylvania coal industry, engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design this summer residence modelled on the mid-18th century French chateau d'Asnieres outside Paris.
In 1899 Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs commissioned architect Stanford White to model Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. Mrs Oelrichs loved to entertain, including a party featuring magician Harry Houdini. Scenes from 1974's film The Great Gatsby were shot at Rosecliff.
Chateau-sur-Mer was built as an Italianate-style villa for China trade merchant William Shepard Wetmore, and completed in 1852. It features High Victorian architecture and was Newport's most palatial residence until the appearance of the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s.
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