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Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York.  Mr. Berwind was quite a magnate, as he made a fortune in the Pennsylvania coal industry, while his wife was a noted collector.  In 1898, the Berwinds engaged the Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d'Agnes at Asnieres-sur-Seine (c.1750).  The Elms was intentionally designed as a summer residence for entertaining and as a backdrop for their art collection.  Construction of The Elms began in 1899 and was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1,400,000 and had over 65,000 square feet of living space.  The interiors and furnishings were designed and decorated by Jules Allard and Sons of Paris and were the setting for the Berwinds' fine collection of Renaissance ceramics and European decorative arts, 18th century French and Venetian paintings, and Oriental jades.  

The elaborate Classical Revival gardens on the grounds were also designed by Trumbauer, and developed between 1907 and 1914.  They include terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a park of fine specimen trees and a lavish lower garden featuring marble tea houses and pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden and carriage house stable and garage.  These gardens were still undergoing restoration when S&L visited on Sunday morning, April 25th, 1999.

Mrs. Berwind died in 1922. In that year, Mr. Berwind invited his sister, Miss Julia, to become his hostess at his New York and Newport houses. Mr. Berwind died in 1936 and Miss Julia continued to summer at The Elms until her death in 1961 at which time the house and most of its contents were sold at public auction. The Preservation Society of Newport County purchased The Elms in 1962 and opened the house to the public.  The statuary-filled gardens and stable-garage create a neo-classical foil to the main house.  In 1996, The Elms was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Drawing Room
The Drawing Room and The Dining Room
Neptune statue
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Neptune and Thetis on The Elms' roof and Goddess in the Gardens