Isaac Bell House
Isaac Bell House
Front elevation, 2008
|Location||70 Perry Street, Newport, RI|
|Architect||McKim, Mead and White|
|Architectural style||Shingle style|
|NRHP Reference #||72000022 (original)
|Added to NRHP||January 13, 1972 (original)
September 25, 1997(increase?)
|Designated NHL||September 25, 1997|
The Isaac Bell House in Newport, Rhode Island, also known as Edna Villa, is one of the outstanding examples of Shingle Style architecture in the United States. It was built during the Gilded Age, when Newport was the summer resort of choice for America's wealthiest families.
Isaac Bell, Jr. was a successful cotton broker and investor, and the brother-in-law of James Gordon Bennett, Jr., publisher of the New York Herald. Bell hired the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White (Charles Follen McKim, William R. Mead, and Stanford White) to design his summer cottage. Known in Newport for designing Newport Casino, and later in Boston for designing Boston Public Library, they also designed the famous Pennsylvania Station in New York. Construction took place between 1881 and 1883.
The Shingle Style was pioneered by Henry Hobson Richardson in his design for the William Watts Sherman House, also in Newport RI. This style of Victorian architecture was popular in the late nineteenth century and named after the decorative shingles used on the exterior. The Isaac Bell House exemplifies the style through its unpainted wood shingles, simple window & trim details, and multiple porches. It combines elements of the English Arts and Crafts movement philosophy, colonial American detailing, and features a Japanese-inspired open floor plan and bamboo-style porch columns. Interior features include inglenook fireplaces, natural rattan wall coverings, wall paneling and narrow-band wooden floors.
The building's history includes being split up into apartments and serving as a nursing home. With the help Carol Chiles Ballard, the house was bought in 1994, by the Preservation Society of Newport County, which won awards for its restoration and operates it as a house museum.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15.
- "Isaac Bell House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-04.
- John Tschirch, Diane D. Galt, Fred Stachura, Susan Kline, and Carolyn Pitts (December 18, 1996). PDF (32 KB). National Park Service and PDF (32 KB)
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. RI-308, "Isaac Bell House, 70 Perry Street, Newport, Newport County, RI", 10 photos, 8 measured drawings, 14 data pages
- Isaac Bell House
- 2001 Victorian Society Award
- Gilding and wallpaper reproduction firm
- Historic carpet reproduction firm