The neighborhood on either side of Annadale Road, which parallels Bellevue Avenue a few blocks to its west, was developed, primarily from open fields, in the mid-nineteenth century because of its proximity to the ocean beaches. These stretch below what is now the upper, northern end of Cliff Walk. This famous path running four miles southward along the rocky coast on the southeastern edge of Aquidneck Island begins at Memorial Boulevard, just above Easton's Beach (First Beach). Some of the most significant mansions can best be seen from the Cliff Walk, offering a sense of how their designers addressed their oceanside sites. It should be noted, however, that others are obscured, often for the privacy of residents, by foliage or topography.
While many of the buildings in the Upper Cliff neighborhood are small, undistinguished structures, originally intended as summer cottages or small houses for working-class New-porters, there are a number of noteworthy buildings. Some of the structures in this neighborhood, like the recently restored eighteenth-century house at 44 Merton Road, or 18 Annadale Road (c. 1860), were moved here when the old Bath Road, leading from the harbor to Easton's Beach, was widened into the present Columbus Memorial Boulevard at the beginning of the twentieth century.
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