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.
Help us to continue a lived-in legacy by becoming a Restoration Partner today.
Dear Newport Restoration Community:
Summer is finally upon us here in Newport and our team is looking forward to reopening our museums to guests again very soon. Our Preservation Department has also been tackling the preservation and maintenance of our properties while adhering to a new set of COVID-19 protocols to ensure their health and safety as well as that of our tenant-stewards.
As part of our ongoing efforts to effectively manage our real estate portfolio, we are listing one of our properties, 74 Bridge Street. While it’s unusual for us to sell a property, it is something we do occasionally consider in the context of our overall portfolio, which includes over 70 historic homes. NRF, and other partner organizations, have gained knowledge from the home related to historic renovations, historic structures and sea level rise that will inform our work moving forward. We are requiring that the home be sold with an exterior easement attached to preserve the historic integrity of the property and the neighborhood. We are confident that we will find the right fit in a new owner.
If you have any further questions, please see the question and answer section below.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Q & A
Why is NRF selling 74 Bridge Street?
After NRF acquired the home, we used it to gain further knowledge on historic renovations, historic structures and sea level rise that will inform our work moving forward. We have made some upgrades to the home, such as a new roof, driveway, heating elements and others. With the additional upgrades needed for the home and current mortgage, the property does not fit into our rental model. We have worked with students to document the history of the property through archival research, architectural photography, and measured drawings, and NRF is requiring that the home be sold with an exterior easement attached to preserve the integrity of the property and the neighborhood. We are confident that we will find the right fit in a new owner.
How do the plans for 74 Bridge Street fit into NRF’s broader goals and real estate portfolio?
NRF is a preservation organization that has preserved over 80 buildings on Aquidneck Island, most of them in Newport and all of them historic. From time to time, we sell properties. Although, our staff and Board have discussed some program-related uses and rental in the past, it makes sense at this time for us to sell 74 Bridge Street. We will continue to protect the historic integrity of the home by requiring an exterior easement on the home which must be honored by future owners.
Is flooding, or climate-related effects, in the area a factor in selling the property?
Our decision to sell the house is unrelated to the flooding in The Point neighborhood. The house has provided valuable insight for studies conducted by us and others regarding historic structures and sea level rise. In addition, R.I. School of Design, with the assistance of NRF and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, held a one-day exhibition at 74 Bridge Street using AR/VR technology to propose potential solutions for the future of the Point neighborhood in the context of sea level rise. We are proud to have had a property that was able to contribute to the conversation and teach us valuable lessons on this topic.
As the owners, NRF made flood-related updates to the home, such as relocating electrical panels, the boiler, and the hot water heater from the basement to the first floor. We also added sump pumps and a water detection alarm system that activates when water enters the basement.
Has COVID-19 affected NRF’s efforts? Is that why 74 Bridge St. is being sold?
NRF has thoroughly reviewed the decision to sell the Bridge Street property. The sale was approved by the Board in December 2019. While COVID-19 has had an effect on our ability to host in-person meetings and events, it was not a factor in the decision to sell one of our properties.
Is NRF selling any other homes in The Point neighborhood?
NRF currently owns 24 other historic houses in the Point with no current plans to sell any of them. In addition, we continue to stay up to date and involved in the conversation around climate related and flood prevention efforts in the area.
What has NRF done to protect its homes in The Point from climate change and flooding?
The threat of increased flooding is a unique and difficult problem that, especially in the case of historic structures, requires a sophisticated solution. We have been learning more about the steps other cities and organizations are taking to counteract the threat and working with consultants to learn more about the specific nature of the problem in Newport. We are also working with other entities, such as the City of Newport where appropriate, to develop solutions. These efforts recently include providing comments on various drafts of the guidelines for elevating houses recently passed by the City Council. It is important that the steps we take make sense in the context of the overall response.
How will this impact NRF’s climate change initiative?
This sale will have no impact on NRF’s commitment to its climate change initiative. We learned quite a bit during the five years we owned the house, which is informing our climate change activities.
Our study on 74 Bridge Street published for the public continues to be utilized here in Newport and around the country. We have sponsored and participated in five Keeping History Above Water conferences or workshops: Newport (2016); Annapolis (2017); Palo Alto (2018); St. Augustine (2019); and Nantucket (2019). The next Keeping History Above Water conference will take place in Charleston in March 2021. NRF is also currently working to bring the contemporary art project, “In the Waves” by Melissa McGill, to Rough Point in 2021 in an effort to raise awareness about sea level rise.
Where can I find the listing?
Click to here for the property listing.
Learn how to make your own art from nature!
A field journal is important to the work of scientists who study nature, and they’re pretty fun to make too!
We learned about the Power of Wind from our May Second Sunday From Home program. Now it’s time to learn how to create your own weather vane!
2020 marks the 20th year that Rough Point opened its doors to visitors for tours, events and quality programs. Though our museums are closed right now, we are committed to honoring Doris Duke’s legacy by bringing her story to you, virtually. In that spirit, we would also love to make you part of our story by welcoming 20 new Restoration Partners into our NRF family this month.