Stretching due south from the top of the hill behind the old center of town, Bellevue Avenue was the result of a mid-nineteenth-century development plan whose very name suggests a pleasant, fashionable country landscape. Alfred Smith, a New York tailor turned real estate developer, led other partners in negotiating the rights to what became, in 1851, the initially unpaved Bellevue Avenue. While retaining much of its natural beauty, the neighborhood became more suburb than countryside as purchasers built large houses, sometimes squeezed onto smallish lots, separated by landscaped plantings and swatches of green lawn. Strung along either side of the avenue south of the upscale commercial district of small shops around the Casino are some of the most famous of Newport's houses.
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