NRF promotes and invests in the architectural heritage of the Newport community, the traditional building trades, and Doris Duke’s fine and decorative arts collections, for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all.
As a leader in the preservation of early American architecture, NRF supports research and education in areas directly related to its collections and issues of critical concern to the field of historic preservation.
Tour Doris Duke’s art-filled mansion and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the extensive grounds, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Open late March to November.
Experience the only museum in the world specializing in 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts. Open late May to October.
Explore 40 acres of open space, a tribute to the agrarian heritage of Aquidneck Island. The site is open daily from dawn to dusk for public enjoyment.
Newport Restoration Foundation holds one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by a single organization anywhere in the United States.
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181 Spring Street
The Jonathan Gibbs House is on its original site and now numbered as 181 Spring Street. Built c.1771, it is a particularly small example of the popular eighteenth-century, two-room cottage with a gambrel roof. The house is sited end-to-the-street with the entry fronting on the side yard. There is a center chimney with fireplaces in each first-floor room and two more for the second-floor chambers. A very tight, twisting staircase rises against the chimney wall, allowing for a very tiny entry hall. There is a small one-story addition to the rear of the house that is of an early date, but not original. The house was purchased by the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in 1969 and restored in 1970.
Jonathan Gibbs was a housewright. He bought the land (originally part of Governor Benedict Arnold's extensive seventeenth-century holdings in the area) from Ann Mercy Brewer in December of 1771. The British List of 1777 identifies "James Brattle and four others" as living in the house. This evokes images of crowded conditions and also suggests that Gibbs built the tiny house for purposes other than his own habitation. Records show that he did not sell the house until 1782, indicating that he was the owner during Brattle's tenancy.
There were several other owners between the time Gibbs sold the house in 1782 and when it was sold to John Bours in 1813. The cottage, then numbered 175 Spring Street, remained with the Bours family until 1852. The Gibbs House was part of a three-building NRF purchase on Spring Street, including #175 (Samuel Bours House) and #177. The house at #177 was torn down to provide more space for the two others.