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William Vernon House (Elmhyrst)

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1833, Russell Warren. Miantonomi Ave. at Broadway
  • William Vernon House (Elmhyrst) (John M. Miller)

When William Vernon, a wealthy Newport merchant and a descendant of the owners of the famous Vernon House in Newport, established his country estate on a hill just beyond the town's border, at One Mile Corner (named for the distance from Colony House), he had the hill and its vistas pretty much to himself. Today this Greek Revival house is crowded against a street corner, its arcadia chopped up by development. What may once have been the finest Greek Revival house in the state is also missing its attic structure. Its major portico is on the garden front, looking downhill toward what was once its park (and hence now appears to be its rear elevation). Four beautifully detailed Ionic columns are inset in a shallow two-story porch closed by paneled blocks on either side. (This was topped, until the 1960s, by an attic story centered in three square windows the width of the interspacing of the columns with paneled frames the width of the columns in between. A plain parapet flanking the triple windows terminated at either end of the elevation in paneled boxes with acroteria.) Two other Grecian mini-buildings complement the main house: a porter's lodge with a Doric front and Vernon's country office in a temple shape surrounded on three sides by Corinthian columns. So this onetime nostalgic idyll embraced the full gamut of the Greek orders.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "William Vernon House (Elmhyrst)", [Newport, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 515-516.

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