Isaac Bell House

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Isaac Bell House
Isaac Bell House 2018-06-13.jpg
Front elevation, 2018
Isaac Bell House is located in Rhode Island
Isaac Bell House
Isaac Bell House is located in the United States
Isaac Bell House
Location70 Perry Street, Newport, RI
Coordinates41°28′45.75″N 71°18′35.06″W / 41.4793750°N 71.3097389°W / 41.4793750; -71.3097389Coordinates: 41°28′45.75″N 71°18′35.06″W / 41.4793750°N 71.3097389°W / 41.4793750; -71.3097389
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
ArchitectMcKim, Mead and White
Architectural styleShingle style
Part ofBellevue Avenue Historic District (#72000023)
NRHP reference #72000022 (original)
97001276 (NHL)
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJanuary 13, 1972[1]
Designated NHLSeptember 25, 1997[2]
Designated NHLDCPDecember 8, 1972

The Isaac Bell House is a historic house and National Historic Landmark at 70 Perry Street (at its corner with Bellevue Avenue) in Newport, Rhode Island. Also known as Edna Villa, it is one of the outstanding examples of Shingle Style architecture in the United States. It was designed by McKim, Mead, and White, and built during the Gilded Age, when Newport was the summer resort of choice for America's wealthiest families.


House interior seen in 1886

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. This style of Victorian architecture was popular in the late nineteenth century and named after the extensive use of wooden shingles 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 of Carol Chiles Ballard, the house was bought in 1994 by the Preservation Society of Newport County, which won awards for its restoration, and which now operates it as a house museum.

The Isaac Bell House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  2. ^ a b "Isaac Bell House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2008-05-04.
  3. ^ John Tschirch; Diane D. Galt; Fred Stachura; Susan Kline; Carolyn Pitts (December 18, 1996). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination: Isaac Bell Jr. House / Edna Villa" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying ten photos, exterior and interior, from c.1886, 1950, 1973, 1994, 1995, and undated (32 KB)

External links[edit]