oldest buildings in newport ri

Owner & Editor of What'sUpNewp. Host of What'sUpNewp Radio Edition on AM 1540 WADK Newport every weekday from 1 pm to 2 pm.

Newport has the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation, the What’sUpNewp crew started this project as a list of the “Top 10 oldest houses in Newport”. It wasn’t soon after starting our research that we found ourselves digging deeper and deeper into Newport’s history completely fascinated.

It’s still completely mind numbing trying to understand just how many buildings, homes and structures still stand from more than 250 years ago, before the American Revolution.

Some of these homes still stand the way they were 250 years ago, but many of these homes were restored in the late 20th century through grants made by Newport resident Doris Duke and the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) and/or preserved by other organizations.

The Oldest Buildings In Newport, RI

While we tried to keep our list to 50 of the oldest buildings in Newport we realized we’d be leaving off some pretty neat buildings that were built before 1765 (like Touro Synagogue, Brick Market and the Malbone House) so we decided to include a few extra! 

Did we miss something? E-mail Ryan@whatsupnewp.com

Gideon Cornell House (1765)

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Located at 3 Division Street

The Gideon Cornell House is a good example of a simple half house, also known as the three-bay plan.

Located on the original site, it has two stories, a gable roof, and a central interior chimney. Parts of the house may date from earlier than 1765. The doorway is Federal in style and was probably a later addition for purposes of modernization.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the house in 1969 and restored it in 1970. It was the first house NRF leased to residential tenants. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Touro Synagogue (1763)

TouroSyn

The Touro Synagogue building was completed in 1763 and was dedicated during the Chanukah festival celebrations on December 2nd of that year. The dedication ceremony was a regional celebration attended not only by the congregation, but also by clergy and other dignitaries from around the colony including Congregationalist Minister Ezra Stiles who later became the president of Yale University. His diaries have proven a treasure trove of information on Newport, the Rhode Island colony, and the Jewish community of the mid-eighteenth century. More Info

Source for info and image: Touro Synagogue

Cahoone-Yates (1763)

After ImageThe Cahoone -Yates House is a two-story building with three interior chimneys and a gable roof. It was originally built c.1763 as a double house, and is one of several eighteenth-century buildings of this style that still exist in Newport.

Located on its original site, the house was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation in 1968 and restored in 1974-75. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Brick Market (1762)

The Brick Market Building 1

The Brick Market Building was designed by Peter Harrison and constructed in 1762. It originally functioned as an open-air market with merchants and offices on the upper floors. The building, located in the heart of Colonial Newport and directly across Washington Square from the Colony House, is considered one of Newport’s architectural treasures. It has had a varied history, including a printing office, a theater, and Town Hall, and has also been altered and renovated frequently over the years.

In 1928-1930 the building was completely restored under the guidance of Norman Isham, and the building was again restored before 1993 under the auspices of the Brick Market Foundation, led by Ralph Carpenter.

Owned by the City of Newport and managed by the NHS, the Brick Market Building is now home to the Museum of Newport History and the Museum Shop. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

Malbone House (1758)

Francis Malbone House Newport.jpgThe Francis Malbone House is a historic house at 392 Thames Street. Peter Harrison, one of colonial Newport’s most prominent architects, designed the Malbone House in 1758 using Georgian architecture styles. In 1975 the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

William Lawton House (1758)

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Located at 47 Poplar Street

The William Lawton House is a small, simple house with two stories and a gable roof. It has an interior chimney that is original to the building, though much restoration work was necessary to make the chimney function safely. The house was built c.1758 and is on the original site.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1978 and restored it in 1979-80. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

 John Tillinghast House (1758)

John Tillinghast House.jpgThe John Tillinghast House is an historic colonial house at 142 Mill Street (facing Touro Park) in Newport. It is a 2-1/2 story wood frame structure, built in 1760 for John Tillinghast, a wealthy merchant. A high-quality example of academic Georgian architecture, the house was a (often temporary) home for a number of notable people during and after the American Revolutionary War.

It was probably occupied by the Marquis de Chastellux, an engineer in the French Army while it was stationed in Newport, and by General Nathanael Greene, who hosted George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette on a visit to Newport. From 1821 to 1824 it was home to William C. Gibbs while he was Governor of Rhode Island.

Source for info and image: Newport Historical Society

Sherborne-Nichols House (1758-1774)

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Located at 4 Elm Street

The exterior of the Sherborne-Nichols House fits the plan of a four-bay house scheme so typical in Newport from 1740 to 1815. When the building was restored, (or perhaps rebuilt is a better term), the size and exterior proportions that typify the eighteenth century were kept and enhanced.

Built c.1758-1774, the house was originally located on Coddington Street and was moved by the Foundation for the Preservation of America’s Architectural Heritage (FPAAH) to its current location on Elm Street in 1968.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1969 and restored it in 1970. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

 Vernon House (1758)

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Located at 46 Clarke Street

Vernon House, a national historic landmark, has a rich architectural and social history. In 1758, Metcalf Bowler, a wealthy merchant purchased a small but elegant house at the corner of Clarke, and Mary Streets. He quickly expanded the house to its current form around 1760. It has been long suspected that the expansion was designed by noted architect Peter Harrison who is responsible for the Redwood Library, Touro Synagogue and the Old Brick Market.

In 1773 it was purchased by another wealthy Newport merchant, William Vernon. A lovely example of Georgian architecture, Vernon House is one of Newport’s last grand merchant’s houses, and played host to many notable guests during Vernon’s ownership. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Constant Tabor House (1750-1803)

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Locat at 47 John Street

The Constant Tabor House is a four-bay, two-story building with a gambrel roof, a large interior chimney, and a well-proportioned pediment doorway in the Georgian style. The original site of the house remains speculative until more conclusive evidence is found.

The house was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1969 and restored in 1970 -71. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

Buliod-Perry House (1750)

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Located at 29 Touro Street

The Buliod-Perry House is a large three-story, five-bay house with a hip roof and two interior chimneys. Located on the original site, it is one of the few remaining eighteenth-century structures on Washington Square. The build date of c.1750 is supported by a record of Peter Buliod giving to Lewis Buliod the “large new house” in 1757.

The house was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1973 and restored in 1976-77. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

John Whitehorne House (1750)

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Located at 428 Thames Street

The John Whitehorne House, circa 1750, is on its original site. It is a two story, five bay, shallow hipped-roofed Georgian house with two interior chimneys. The floor plan has a central hallway – front to back – with the stairway on the back wall. There are four primary rooms on each floor, one in each corner. The house has a restrained Georgian elegance, which may owe much to the Quakers who had a strong influence on the look of 18th century Newport, both in the design of buildings and furniture.

The Newport Restoration Foundation purchased the house in 1969 and restored it in 1974-75. More Info

Source for info and image: Newport Restoration Foundation

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