Filed under: Estates
Another beautiful home in Newport, Rhode Island has hit the market. I've had my eye on it since 2006 when the "summer cottage" designed by Richard Morris Hunt was in transition after the death of owner, Donald Tinney who had bought the home in 1956 for $25,000. Mrs. Tinney has vowed to preserve the home, a 65-room, 19th century castle that has been open for years for tours and private events and the couple had battled a long time to keep the home, waging a legal battle against a handyman that Ruth Tinney, Donald's mother, had adopted after her husband's death. The home was almost sold to Peter de Savary, the English businessman who developed Carnegie Abbey in Portsmouth but the deal fell through. The castle re-opened for tours at that time and like other homes in the area is rented out for weddings and events.
But now, as Robert Frank of the Wall Street Journal's Wealth Report reveals, the home is up for sale. The 60-room mansion was built in 1894 for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, the youngest son of August Belmont, of Rothschild Banking fame. It is said to have cost $3 million to build a figure that Frank says is equal to about $75 million in today's dollars. Belcourt Castle was used to display his collections of armor, medieval manuscripts and things related to Oliver Belmont's love of horses (the Belmont Stakes horse race was named for his father). The entire first floor was composed of carriage space and a multitude of stables for Belmont's prized horses. Belmont later married Alva Vanderbilt, the former wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt who converted the carriage room into a banquet hall and transformed a study into a boudoir. The house itself isn't haunted but it is said that the Gothic ballroom has haunted chairs and a suit or armor that may also be haunted. It is listed for $7.2 million with Judy Chace.
A far more well-preserved example of Gilded Age decadence, the Astors home, Beechwood Manor in Newport has been on the market for two years and started at $16 million but is now listed at $12.9 million. Oakwood, another home with an Astor provenance hit the market for $10.75 million last year and has been reduced to $7.9 million. Hopedene on Newport's famous Cliff Walk went on sale last year at $22.5 million and now sits at $19.5 million.
Gallery: Belcourt Castle