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Breakers Mansion

Great American Mansions: Breakers Mansion

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Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Breakers Mansion, sometimes called simply Breakers, is the largest and most elaborate of Newport's Gilded Age summer homes.
Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI

Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI

Photo © Flickr Member Ben Newton
Breakers Mansion
1892 to 1895
Richard Morris Hunt, architect
Newport, Rhode Island

Wealthy industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt II hired architect Richard Morris Hunt to build the lavish, 70-room Breakers Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. Breakers Mansion overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is named for the waves crashing into the rocks below the 13-acre estate.

With its massive Corinthian columns, the solid-stone Breakers Mansion resembles a 16th-century (Renaissance-style) Italian seaside palace. Breakers Mansion also incorporates Beaux Arts and Victorian elements, including gilt cornices, rare marble, "wedding cake" painted ceilings, and prominent chimneys.

Architect Richard Morris Hunt gave Breakers Mansion grand spaces for entertaining. The mansion has a 45-foot high central Great Hall, arcades, many levels, and a covered, central courtyard. The rooms, decorated in French and Italian styles, were designed and assembled in Europe, shipped to the US, and reassembled in the house.

Breakers Mansion was built to replace the original Breakers, which was made of wood and burned down after the Vanderbilts purchased the property.

Today, Breakers Mansion is a National Historic landmark owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

Learn More: Architecture in Newport, Rhode Island

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