Designed by renowned society architect Richard Morris Hunt, the Marble House is a stellar highlight of Newport’s Gilded Age summer cottages. Built between 1888 and 1892 for William and Alva Vanderbilt, the 50-room mansion cost $11 million dollars and required a staff of 36 servants. It was one of the first Beaux-Arts structures in the United States, and its lavish styling was inspired by Le Petit Trianon at Versailles in France.
The entrance to the U-shaped building, which faces Bellevue Avenue, resembles the White House, with its Corinthian-columned portico. Inside are a number of lavish rooms, including the two-story Stair Hall dressed in yello Siena marble with an 18th-century Venetian ceiling painting; the Grand Salon, encrusted with three kinds of gold; and a dining room impeccably attired in pink Numidian marble and appointed in gilt bronze.
Alva Vanderbilt sold the house in 1919 and it was purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County in 1963; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.