The Elms is a well-known mansion located at 367 Bellevue Avenue in Newport which was completed in 1901. The mansion cost around 1.5 million dollars to build back in the day and was designed by Philadlphia architect, Horace Trumbauer. The mansion was built for Mr. and Mrs. Edward Berwind. They lived in a smaller cottage in Newport for years and spent summers there, but they soon decided they wanted a larger space for their society parties.
The mansion was built of white limestone and had 50 rooms standing over three stories. From the outside, the mansion appears to be just two stories high, but a third is hidden behind the parapets that line the roof.
When The Elms was finished being built, the Berwind family celebrated with a large party. Roses adorned every corner of the interior, 400 guests gathered and orchestras played in the grounds. Mr. Berwind was the President of the Newport Country Club and he gained a reputation for hosting some of the best parties of the Gilded Age!
When both Mr. and Mrs. Berwind died, the home was left to Mrs. Berwind’s sister Julia. She died in 1961 and left The Elms to her sister’s son, Charles Dunlap. He was unable to maintain this gorgeous property and he sold it to developers based out of New York who intended on replacing it with a shopping center. An auction was held and all the furnishings were sold. Most of the valuable art went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When the stock market took a tumble in 1962, the Preservation Society of Newport County was able to purchase it and keep it from being destroyed.
From 1962, the Society opened its doors to the public as a house-museum and it remains one of the most popular in Newport! The home is even decorated beautifully during the holiday season!