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 April to November.
Experience the only museum in the world specializing in 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts.
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.
Celebrate excellence in historic preservation efforts within the City of Newport, Rhode Island.
Live amidst history by renting one of our many historic properties.
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35-39 Mill Street
Built c.1784, the Billings Coggeshall House is a narrow, one-room-wide double house with two interior chimneys and a gable roof. Originally located at 23-25 Cannon Street, the house had been relocated to Mill Street when the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building and property in 1969. NRF restored the house and created Comstock Court during a two-year period between 1971 and 1973.
The house has design elements common to mid-eighteenth century architecture, such as window and cornice moldings and simple, well-proportioned pediment doorways. Although by 1784 some new buildings had begun to take on Federal-style design elements, the details of the house are in keeping with the simpler, pre-Revolutionary style.
The house was originally located in an area of Newport that later lay in the path of the Memorial Boulevard West construction. (All the buildings on Cannon and Levin Streets, along with the streets themselves, were eliminated during the construction of this road.) In 1966-67, the house was moved in two sections from Cannon to Mill Street in order to save it from demolition. The owner had purchased the Mill Street property, home to an auto dealership, and demolished much of that brick-and-block building in order to make way for the house.
No restorations had been done when NRF bought the building. It was then rebuilt and restored, guided by bits and pieces of early fabric in the interior. Utilizing the perimeter brick walls of the old auto dealership building, an office wing with a cobbled courtyard was built. The facility -named Comstock Court after NRF's second director, Francis Comstock-was used for many years by NRF before it was turned over to a commercial tenant.
The Billings Coggeshall House remains unique among extant Newport double houses with its simple, one-room-deep plan. The new office complex, with its courtyard hidden from the street and acquiring a patina of its own, has become a coveted professional space.
Photo of the house before restoration.