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Newport

The Breakers

The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, United States on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a National Historic Landmark, a contributing property to the Bellevue Avenue Historic District, and is owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

The Breakers was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a member of the wealthy United States Vanderbilt family. It is built in a style often described as Goût Rothschild. Designed by renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt and with interior decoration by Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman, Jr., the 70-room mansion has approximately 65,000 sq ft (6,000 m2) of living space. The home was constructed between 1893 and 1895 at a cost of more than $12 million (approximately $335 million in today's dollars adjusted for inflation).

The Ochre Point Avenue entrance is marked by sculpted iron gates and the 30-foot (9.1 m) high walkway gates are part of a 12-foot-high limestone and iron fence that borders the property on all but the ocean side. The 250 × 120 ft (76 × 37 m) dimensions of the five-story mansion are aligned symmetrically around a central Great Hall. Part of a 13-acre (53,000 m²) estate on the seagirt cliffs of Newport, it faces east overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Gardens :

The pea-gravel driveway is lined with maturing pin oaks and red maples. The formally landscaped terrace is surrounded by Japanese yew, Chinese juniper, and dwarf hemlock. The trees of The Breakers' grounds act as screens that increase the sense of distance between The Breakers and its Newport neighbors. Among the more unusual imported trees are two examples of the Blue Atlas Cedar, a native of North Africa.

Clipped hedges of Japanese yew and Pfitzer juniper line the tree shaded foot paths that meander about the grounds. Informal plantings of arbor vitae, taxus, Chinese juniper, and dwarf hemlock provide attractive foregrounds for the walls that enclose the formally landscaped terrace. The grounds also contain several varieties of other rare trees, particularly copper and weeping beeches. These were hand-selected by James Bowditch, a forester based in the Boston area.

Bowditch’s original pattern for the south parterre garden was determined from old photographs and laid out in pink and white alyssum and blue ageratum. The wide borders paralleling the wrought iron fence are planted with rhododendron, laurel, dogwoods, and many other flowering shrubs that effectively screen the grounds from street traffic and give visitors a feeling of seclusion.

Layout :
Basement:

Laundry
Staff's restrooms

First floor:
Entrance Foyer
Gentlemen’s Reception Room
Ladies’ Reception Room
Great Hall
Main Staircase
Arcade
Library
Music Room
Morning Room
Porch
Lower Loggia
Billiard Room
Dining Room
Marriage Chest
Breakfast Room
Pantry
Kitchen

Second floor:
Mr. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom
Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom
Miss Gertrude Vanderbilt’s Bedroom
Upper Loggia
Guest Bedroom
Countess Szechenyi’s Bedroom

Third floor:
The third floor contains eight bedrooms and a sitting room decorated in Louis XVI style walnut paneling by Ogden Codman. The North Wing of the third floor quarters were reserved for domestic servants. With ceilings near 18 feet high, Richard Morris Hunt created two separate third floors to allow a mass congregation of servant bed chambers. This was all in part of the configuration of the house, built in Italian Renaissance style, that included a pitched roof. Flat roofed French classical houses in the area allowed a concealed wing for staffing at the time. The Breakers does not feature this luxury.

Attic floor:
The Attic floor contained more staff quarters, general storage areas, and the innovative cisterns. One smaller cistern supplied hydraulic pressure for the 1895 Otis lift, still functioning in the house though wired for electricity in 1933. Two larger cisterns supplied fresh and salt water to the many bathrooms in the house.