This comfortable house with a capacious porch and the aspect of a country inn is unassuming architecturally. From its founding, however, it became the elite club in Newport, its cachet uncontested until the building of the nearby Newport Casino. Originally designed in a simple Federal style as a residentially scaled hotel, it was renovated for use as a private men's club in the mid-1850s when the porch was added. It was here that a socially prominent but devil-may-care guest of James Gordon Bennett rode his horse into the members' lounge on a dare. When Bennett was reprimanded, he retaliated by commissioning the casino, taking with him many of the younger members of the Reading Room and giving to fashionable Newport a more active and public center for summer recreation. George Mason, who designed the spacious, two-story, monitor-roofed billiard room addition, was one of two nineteenth-century architects to be a member; Richard Morris Hunt was the other.
You are here
Newport Reading Room
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.