Toward the end of the 19th century the famous Vanderbilt family created the ultimate summer cottage. A 70-room mansion was an exclusive creation of the Gilded Age.
Now, anyone can visit the dreamy property called The Breakers, located in Newport, Rhode Island.
Completed in 1895, the Italian Renaissance-style palazzo was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt and modeled after 16th century palaces.
The Rhode Island home was dubbed The Breakers due to its location near a cliff where Atlantic Ocean waves break against the rocks.
The home cost an estimated $7 million to complete in its day, equivalent to about $150 million today. adjusted for inflation.
The Vanderbilt’s made their fortune in the steamship and railroad industries. They had previously owned a house on the property but it was lost to a fire in 1892. In order to safeguard against another fire, the family had the boiler room stationed away from the house and beneath the lawn and asked for brick and steel construction.
The cottage, designated a National Historic Landmark, was opened to the public in 1948 as a way to support The Preservation Society of Newport County.
Gladys Vanderbilt was a supporter of the nonprofit and wanted to help raise funds.
The group purchased the 13-acre site from the Vanderbilt heirs in 1972.
Today, anyone may take a self-guided tour of the home, year-round. If you want a more detailed experience, be sure to download the Preservation Society’s Newport Mansions app.
by Gina Gallucci-White