Rosecliff Mansion
Rosecliff

A $150,000 State Preservation Grant will be used to help repair the roof balustrade at Rosecliff (1902), which was inspired by the balustrade of the Grand Trianon at Versilles.

“This is critical funding that will help to save this original and visually important architectural feature of Rosecliff, allowing us to stabilize the crumbling stone and stop the water seepage that is contributing to its deterioration,” said Trudy Coxe, CEO & Executive Director of The Preservation Society of Newport County. “This grant program not only provides much-needed support for the state’s cultural programs and historic sites, it is also important to the state’s economy, by helping to create jobs.”

The grant from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) will be used to restore approximately 312 feet of the balustrade, including repointing all masonry joints, resetting lifted capstones over the parapet, and installing new copper flashing.  Some deteriorated features will be replicated in cast stone and reinstalled using stainless steel pins and rods.

Positioned above the second floor cornice, the balustrade at Rosecliff hides the third-floor servants’ living quarters.  But its location at the top of the building exposes it to wind, rain and salt spray from the ocean. During the comprehensive exterior restoration of Rosecliff from 1979-80, some damaged terra cotta units were similarly replicated in cast stone, so that the current balustrade is a mix of terracotta and cast stone units. Over the years, many of the masonry joints have failed, allowing moisture to penetrate and freeze, contributing to shifting, fracturing and deterioration of the balustrade.  A 37-foot section on the north side of the house was rebuilt in 2014 with funding from the Monroe Foundation.

The Rosecliff grant was included in $4.6 million in capital grants announced by the RIHPHC and the RI State Council on the Arts for arts, culture, heritage and public historic sites across the state.  The competitive grant program requires that the Preservation Society provide matching funds for the project.

Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted fabulous entertainments here, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history.  Its 11 historic properties–seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.