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.
Visit Doris Duke’s art-filled mansion and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the extensive grounds. Open late March to November.
The Vernon House is a site for expansive story-telling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
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.
46 Clarke Street
Vernon House, a national historic landmark, has a rich architectural and social history. The Newport Restoration Foundation has stewarded the William Vernon House (c. 1708) at 46 Clarke Street since 2009. Perhaps best known for playing host to Comte de Rochambeau during the French occupation of Newport (1780-1781), the Vernon House is connected to many integral stories within Newport’s history.
From its construction in 1708 until the late 19th century, the house was owned by merchants and slave trading families involved in Newport’s political, economic, religious, and civic life, including the Vernon family (1774-1872). Generations of enslaved individual men, women, and children of African and Indigenous heritage lived and worked in the house. In the early 20th century, it housed a philanthropic social welfare and housing organization. During this period, a series of remarkable 18th century chinoiserie murals were uncovered in the first floor parlor. Due to the care of its many stewards through over centuries generations, the Vernon House has faced relatively few major alterations since its 1760 renovation by owner Metcalf Bowler.
In 2009, the family donated the house to NRF on the condition that it continue to be used as a home for their daughter. When the house was vacated in 2018, NRF started envisioning the property’s future. NRF embarked on a Historic Structures Report (HSR) over the next several years—a deep dive into the history of the property and its inhabitants. An HSR studies a property from every perspective to fully understand the history of the resource, its current condition, and the work needed to ensure its future preservation.