Friday, December 23, 2011


'Rosecliff', the Mr. & Mrs. Hermann Oelrichs estate designed by McKim, Mead & White between 1897-1902 in Newport, Rhode Island. Oelrichs was the American representative of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company and his wife, Theresa Fair Oelrichs, was a daughter of James Graham Fair, mining engineer and Comstock Lode beneficiary. Theresa's sister, Virginia Graham Fair, was married to William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Hermann Oelrichs died in 1906 following the San Francisco earthquake (not from injuries sustained during the event) and following a period of mourning Theresa continued to use the house for social functions until her death in 1926. Following a slew of subsequent owners (and some serious interior damage from burst pipes) the house was donated to the Preservation Society of Newport in 1971 and has been open to the public since. Click HERE to see 'Rosecliff' on google earth and HERE on bing.

Photos from Architectural Review, 1908.


The Down East Dilettante said...

This is an easy place to love---its opulence tempered with light and air, and the sure hands of Messrs McKim & White---a big old stage set.

Here's a link to a Life article about Gertrude Niesen's purchase (it was she who later left the house unheated in winter, causing the burst pipes)

Anonymous said...

I agree, very easy to love.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Sheesh, did I forget to include the link AGAIN???

AND, this one from TIME, March 23, 1942, not even a year later:

"Gertrude Niesen's $2,000,000 marble palace in Newport (bought for the torch-singer by Mama Niesen for $20,000) was visited by a man from the water department when the meter had run up a $600 bill. He walked in on a 50-room skating rink, on floors buried under half a foot of ice, to see the grand staircase a magnificent frozen waterfall. The pipes had frozen and burst."