While planning a quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island, I was browsing Google Maps in search of historical sites to see. The magnificent mansions that line the streets are surely a sight to see. The Vanderbilt Mansion, The Marble House, Rosecliff, Kingscote, The Elms, The Breakers, and last but not least, The Chateau-sur-Mer.
The Chateau-sur-Mer was designed and built by Seth C. Bradford in 1852 for William Shepard Wetmore, a trade merchant. Wetmore enjoyed the palatial Italianate-style villa for ten years before his death, which occurred in 1862. The home was bequeathed to his son, George Peabody Wetmore, who was elected as the 37th Governor of Rhode Island from 1885 to 1887 and Senator from 1895 to 1907. He married Edith Keteltas and they had two sons and two daughters. Their sons died fairly young and their daughters never married. Eventually, the Preservation Society of Newport County bought the estate offering seasonal tours of one of the best examples of Victorian mansions surviving today. In 2006, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Chateau-sur-Mer is located at 474 Bellevue Avenue in Newport. On Google Maps, the house cannot be seen from the street, but from the sidestreet, this view of the exterior is available:
I was thrilled to find that a virtual tour is available online. You can now explore and admire the architecture, wall-to-wall woodwork, rare art and statues, and exquisite furnishings from wherever you are. Just click the play button (arrow), below, and then navigate around by clicking and dragging. Tap the circles on the floor to move around the house. Notice, also, the options in the bottom left corner, which allow you to change perspective and view the floor plan for each level. Additional information is available about items marked with colored circles. Hover over one to read more. I searched for the kitchen but couldn't seem to find it, to my disappointment. If you find it, please comment below!
If you're ever in the area, a visit to the Chateau-sur-Mer would be a good way to experience a taste of Newport's Gilded Age first hand. Visit newportmansions.org for information.
Chateau-sur-Mer article on Wikipedia [Link]
The Preservation Society of Newport County [Link]
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