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The William Vernon House (circa 1708 & 1750) is one of the most historically significant buildings in Newport, Rhode Island.

Located on Clarke Street, the home played a critical role during the American Revolution. Beginning in July 1780, the Comte de Rochambeau, Commander-in-Chief of the French forces, used the home as his headquarters. Both George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette visited Rochambeau at the house during his time in Newport. Perhaps the most notable feature of the home was discovered in 1936, when water infiltration required the removal of the paneling in the northwest parlor. Underneath, workers found a series of sixteen remarkable chinoiserie panels.

 

 

NRF received the William Vernon House from a donor in 2009, however, a member of the donor’s family occupied it for nine years. NRF’s full stewardship of the home began in 2018. Having now been entrusted with preserving this amazing resource, NRF wants to be certain that each step it takes in the preservation process is the appropriate and logical next step. NRF is working with Spencer, Sullivan & Vogt, an Architecture and Preservation firm in Charlestown, Mass., to complete a grant-funded Historic Structure Report that is currently underway.  A Historic Structure Report 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. This will be the first time a comprehensive report of this kind will be performed on this home.

 

 

NRF recognized that the Historic Structure Report provided an ideal engagement and education opportunity by both literally and figuratively opening the doors of the William Vernon House to the public. NRF is bringing you along for the journey through a new video series entitled Behind the Walls: Uncovering the History of Vernon House, with the first episode premiering Monday, May 3, 2021 on YouTube in honor of Historic Preservation Month.

To support NRF in our efforts to preserve the William Vernon House, as well as our other historic properties, please consider making a gift today.

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NRF thanks the following Foundations for generously funding this project:

Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust

EJMP Fund for Philanthropy

Herman H. Rose Civic Cultural and Media Access Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation

Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

Behind the Walls: Uncovering the History of Vernon House

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