Malbone Castle and Estate

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Malbone
Malbone Castle from the East.jpg
Malbone Castle
Malbone Castle and Estate is located in Rhode Island
Malbone Castle and Estate
Location Newport, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°30′18.02″N 71°18′35.55″W / 41.5050056°N 71.3098750°W / 41.5050056; -71.3098750Coordinates: 41°30′18.02″N 71°18′35.55″W / 41.5050056°N 71.3098750°W / 41.5050056; -71.3098750
Built 1849
Architect Davis,A.J.; Newton,Dudley
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 76000039[1]
Added to NRHP October 22, 1976

Malbone, a Gothic-style castle and National Historic Place originally built in 1741 [2] (although the current house dates largely from 1848). The estate is one of the oldest privately owned estates in Newport, Rhode Island. The estate once served as the country residence of Colonel Godfrey Malbone (1695–1768) of Virginia and Connecticut. Colonel Malbone made his fortune as a shipping merchant and slave trader, becoming one of the wealthiest men in Newport during the 1740s through privateering and the triangle trade.

Malbone Estate had some of the foremost gardens in North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Situated on 17 acres (69,000 m2) and designed between 1848–1850 by the architectural theorist Andrew Jackson Downing, a prominent advocate of the Gothic revival style, the gardens consisted of gravel and brick pathways with borders of boxwoods, and artificial fish ponds lined with cobblestone. The grounds also include the largest private collection of beech trees in the Northeast, and had terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a park of fine specimen trees and a lavish lower garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden, and carriage house and garage.

Future President George Washington boarded and dined at Malbone in February 1756 when he visited his good friend Col. Malbone. In 1766, during the course of a gala dinner party, a chimney fire [3] reduced the house to a pile of sandstone rubble. Reportedly Colonel Malbone, seeing no reason why the party should be interrupted, ordered dinner to be served outside, saying, "By God, if I have to lose my house, I shall not lose my dinner!" The house was subsequently rebuilt as the summer villa in the country of Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Prescott Hall. Mr. Hall was an eminent New York lawyer and descendant of two signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Malbone in 2013

In May 1848, the Halls commissioned Alexander Jackson Davis, a notable 19th century New York architect, to design a house of pink sandstone with the ivy-covered ruin as its principal feature. The stone and brickwork before the front door is all that remains of the substantial country house built in 1741 by Malbone. Reconstruction was completed in 1849. The home remained in the same family for over 130 years and served as the summer residence of the Morris family, a prominent family from New York, who held positions of social and political prominence in America and Newport since the 18th century.

In 1978, Malbone was bequeathed to the Preservation Society of Newport County by the Morris family, and is now privately owned by the Brede Family of Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Malbone in 1859

References[edit]

  • Gardens of Colony and State: Gardens and Gardeners of the American Colonies and of the Republic Before 1840 by Alice G. B. Lockwood.
  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ "1849 Construction and history". Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "June 1766 fire, page 98". Retrieved 26 February 2014. 

External links[edit]