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.
95 Spring Street
The Edward Willis House, built c. 1807, is a one-story, gambrel-roof cottage with a central chimney and a lean-to addition across the back. The house stood on Levin Street, its original location, when the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased it in 1968. In 1969, NRF acquired a property on Spring Street, demolished the existing structure there, and relocated the Willis House to its current site. Restoration took place in 1970-71.
The lean-to of the original house was built without a basement, depending instead on brick and stone piers for support. When the structure was raised for the moving process, very little of the addition had the stability to sustain the move. The lean-to was then duplicated at the new site from salvaged and period materials.
Much of the interior period fabric has remained intact throughout the years. The detailing is simple and includes mantles, wainscoting, beam casings, cornice moldings, and a very tight, winding staircase.
The lasting popularity of this simple house style is reflected in its wide-ranging build dates of 1730 to 1807. A classic, eighteenth-century Newport cottage design, it is well represented in the NRF collection, which includes four of this type. The other three NRF houses of this style are located at 181 Spring, 35 Green and 11 Third. These, together with the many similar examples in Newport owned by private individuals, constitute an impressive survival rate.
Photo of the house before restoration.