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.
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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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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.
The house is believed to have been built by Benjamin Sherborne on land purchased from Captain John Draper. The date is vague, in part, because a building appears, coded as a shop, on the Coddington Street lot on the Stiles Map of 1758. Coddington Street, the building's original location, is in the heart of Newport and seems to have been an area with a high density of shops and stables at the time Stiles made his map.
Captain John Draper bought the property in 1721. In 1750, Draper heirs sold the property to Sherborne without a building listed on the deed. During the mid-eighteenth century, Sherborne owned a mansion house on the northeast corner of Farewell and Marlborough Streets, quite near Coddington Street, and it would not have been improbable for him to have built a shop, stable, or accessory building close to his main dwelling. Later, the building could have been converted to a house, perhaps when Sherborne sold the property to Samuel Nichols in 1774, as the term "house" was listed on Nichols' deed to the property.
By the time NRF purchased the structure, very little original material existed in the building. During the restoration, certain details were kept and enhanced that reflect eighteenth-century style. The interior was furnished with architectural materials from NRF inventory of period trim, or with details reproduced from profiles and designs existing on other similar Newport houses.
This is one of several properties NRF bought from the FPAAH. In particular, the FPAAH sought to save houses in Newport that were slated for demolition in order to make way for a housing development for the elderly in the area of Farewell, Coddington, Charles, and North Baptist Streets. The organization then purchased various plots of land in the Point section of Newport, constructed cellar foundations, and moved the houses, mostly stripped of their interiors, to new locations. When momentum stalled within the FPAAH, the buildings were offered to NRF.
Photo of the house before restoration.