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United States Naval War College

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Founders Hall: 1817 with Victorian additions. Luce Hall: 1891, George Champlin Mason, Sr. Coasters Harbor Island
  • United States Naval War College
  • United States Naval War College

The ruggedly severe aspect of the two later buildings of the War College, especially Luce Hall, with its walls of random-coursed gray stone, entrance porches, and gables is likely to attract the most attention from the distance. It is imposing in length and is sited at the crest of a long, treeless slope, which is echoed in the long slopes of hipped and gabled roofs. These are pierced just above their eaves by the exceptional feature of a row of continuous slotlike windows, each with its own very long slope, all climaxed in a stubby cupola. But Founders Hall, the original building of this high-command college for instruction in tactics and global naval strategy is perhaps the most interesting. A plain Federal building with a cupola and a lunette window stretched in its pediment, it is fronted by a tall Victorian veranda reached by a steep climb of steps. (Extensions to either side are, like the porch, later additions.) Plainness and austerity carry the day here, with a touching sense of the domestic simply blown up to institutional scale. It is now a museum open to the public; perhaps its most notable permanent exhibit covers the development of naval torpedoes, commemorating the factory which made them on adjacent Goat Island. Behind Founders Hall, a road runs past an interesting row of Victorian duplexes built as officers' quarters.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "United States Naval War College", [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, 529-530.

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