A Gothic Revival mansion built as one of the first summer "cottages" in the Newport area is now a house museum with tours and is a National Historic Landmark.
The Kingscote mansion was built in 1839 along a farm path called Bellevue Avenue for a summer "cottage." The architect was Richard Upjohn who designed in the Gothic Revival style with gables and chimneys plus elaborate Gothic detailing. When built, it was painted a beige color mixed with sand that made it appear textured, like sandstone. Kingscote was built for George Noble Jones who was the owner of the El Destino and Chemonie cotton plantations in Florida. When the Civil War began, the Jones family left Newport and the house was sold to a China trade merchant named William Henry King in 1864. King's nephew David took the house in 1876, and after several years decided to make renovations and enlarge the mansion. The architect that made the renovations was George Champlin Mason, and some of the changes were a new dining room made of innovative materials such as cork tiles as a wall covering and ceiling along with opalescent glass bricks by Louis Comfort Tiffany. A new service wing was added and the entire interior was redecorated by the New York firm of Leon Marcotte. He also introduced gas lighting to the premises.
The King family kept the home until 1972 and it was left to the Preservation Society. The bequest included all of the furnishings as of about 1880. The home is a National Historic Landmark in a very rare example of a Gothic Revival house, and the landscape setting is preserved and intact with original family collections. The mansion is packed from wall to wall and floor to ceiling with furniture, decorations, sculptures, paintings, prints, art, and ceramics. Each room is like a mini-museum in itself with lovely china and historical artifacts that belonged to the families that once lived in the mansion with 95% of the furnishings being original. The tours are in person from 10:30 - 4:30 pm every day and take about an hour. The tours include a great family history with details about each and every room. There is an impressive clock collection, a built-in dining hutch, pretty grounds, and a great carriage house.