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.
Celebrate excellence in historic preservation efforts within the City of Newport, Rhode Island.
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6 Bridge Street
Beginning in 1721, the Benjamin Howland House was built in three stages. The center, one-and-a-half-story gambrel roof section was built during the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The ell was added sometime later and finally, around 1795, a small, two-story, two-bay section was built.
The building originally stood in Dartmouth, Massachusetts where, in 1969, it was threatened with imminent demolition by the property owner. In the same year, the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the house, disassembled it, and stored it until a site in Newport could be determined. The structure was then restored on the Bridge Street site in 1974 -75.
The deteriorated condition of certain structural elements of the house in 1969 dictated that the center section, as well as some of the ell, was all that could reasonably survive disassembly. Much of the detailing, however, was still in fine condition and these original trim materials, such as doors, fireplace surrounds, some board walls and simple paneling, remained with the building. Many of the original main beams have also been left in the house.
Two primary heated rooms on the first floor have small, unheated rooms located in corners away from the chimney. The second floor, accessed by the original steep stairway, has two small bedchambers with interesting sliding roof windows. It is not known whether these are original, but they are a very early feature.
The house is one of ten buildings either moved to or reassembled in Newport from locations outside of the city proper. In the history of the NRF, eight buildings originally from locations off Aquidneck Island (on which the city of Newport is located) were reassembled in Newport. Two others, one from Middletown and one from Portsmouth, were also reassembled there. The latter two, although from the same island, reflect a more rural style than the urban architecture found in the thriving seaport town of eighteenth-century Newport.
Photo of the house before restoration.