The Villa – Sigourney House // 1864

Margaret Barker Sigourney was the wife of Boston lawyer Henry Sigourney (1783–1849). In 1864, just as the Civil War was coming to a close, Sigourney purchased a piece of land on Bellevue Avenue in Newport soon after the time that Newport had been rediscovered as a tourist destination for the elite class. Sigourney wanted to make a splash as a single woman summering in Newport, so she hired local architect George Champlin Mason to design her cottage in the fashionable Second Empire style. The refined facade is more academic, while the rear and side facades exhibit porches with delicate bargeboards and trim. Sigourney spent summers at her cottage with her only son until 1873 when he and his family perished and were lost at sea aboard the Ville du Havre, when it collided in the Atlantic with another ship, killing a total of 226 aboard the ships, many of which drowned and their bodies never recovered. Alone, Margaret Sigourney continued to spend her summers in Newport until her own death in 1885.

“Seaweed” Cottage // 1860

“Seaweed” is a spectacular oceanfront estate situated on Newport’s famed Cliff Walk and overlooking Bailey’s Beach. This home is three-stories with an enormous enclosed porch that offers sweeping views of the Atlantic from all windows. The house consists of 16 rooms including an inviting foyer, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms, dining room, and living room, all with original fireplaces, flooring, and detail throughout. Views of the sea are from nearly every room. “Seaweed” was originally built and owned by Mr. Henry Howard in 1860-61. It was altered in 1867 by renowned architect George Champlin Mason. Within a decade it was sold to Mr. C. Davis who passed it on to George T. M. Davis. In the 1880’s the property became a rental property owned by Alfred Smith, a real estate agent who lived near the center of town. In the early 1900’s it was purchased by Thomas Dolan of Philadelphia who re-baptized the home “Seaweed” after having architect Horace Trumbauer bring it to its present Colonial Revival style. The name is one of my favorites! What do you think of the name Seaweed for a home?

Codman Place // 1870

In 1870, unmarried sisters of the esteemed and respected Codman Family of Boston, Catherine Elizabeth and Maria Potter, commissioned this house from the Newport Rhode Island architect George Champlin Mason. Like many who built in Bristol after the Civil War, the sisters seemed to view the location as a kind of suburb of fashionable Newport. In 1875 they were joined by their brother Henry Codman, who was given a large tower addition to dwell in, preserving the architectural significance to the Second Empire style home. Henry died in 1879, only four years after his tower was constructed, Catherine died in 1898, and Maria died in 1902 and the house was sold soon after her death. The home was converted to seven condominium units in the 1980s, yet retains its architectural grandeur from the delicate iron cresting at the roofs, down to the historic 2-over-2 windows.