Corbin Estate // 1880

Austin Corbin (1827-1896) was a 19th century railroad man known for consolidating what we know today as the Long Island Railroad. He was born in Newport, New Hampshire and eventually graduated from Harvard Law School in 1849. He eventually moved to New York, and founded the Corbin Banking Company, which he leveraged into a successful banking firm, which funded his diversifying into resorts and railroads. In 1873, while following doctors advice of ocean air for his ill son on Coney Island, Corbin recognized the area as an untapped natural location for a summer resort, and proceeded to purchase 500 acres, opening a large hotel and a new railway system to deliver New Yorkers to the resort in 1878. He is infamous for strong-arming the Montaukett tribe on Long Island out of nearly 10,000 acres they occupied around Montauk. The tribe is still seeking compensation for this tactic. In 1880, he built this summer estate in his hometown of Newport, NH as a castle for his greed, also acquiring over 100 acres for the estate. He soon after bought out over 25,000 acres of land for an ultra-private members-only hunting club. Corbin died on the estate in 1896 and the property was eventually purchased by William Ruger. The home was vacant for decades following WWII until Ruger, who co-founded Sturm, Ruger & Co. purchased the estate, likely utilizing the hunting reserve next door. The property and another owned by the Ruger Family were sold separately at auction in 2019.

Dexter Richards and Sons Woolen Mill // 1905

The Dexter Richards and Sons Woolen Mill is the last surviving textile mill in Newport, New Hampshire. It was one of the city’s largest and most successful industries and employers. Built in 1905 on the banks of the Sugar River – which supported industrial activity as early as 1768 – the mill reflects the evolution of water-powered mills throughout the city and the region for more than a century. Designed by Peterborough native Edward A. Buss, Richards Woolen Mill is a typical three-story brick mill building from the early 20th century with granite, brick and metal architectural flourishes; it stands out for its five-story Romanesque tower with three tall arched windows on each side. At the base of the tower, above the entrance, are two slate roundels with the dates “1848” and “1905,” marking when both a previous mill on the site and the existing mill were built. In addition to running the mill, the Richards family was instrumental in establishing the Newport Electric Company (1892) and brought both Western Union Telegraph service (1866) and the Concord & Claremont Railroad (1871) to Newport. Richards and Sons, Inc. dissolved in 1926. The property was purchased by Harry W. Brown and Associates and was renamed the Gordon Woolen Mill. That business made wool linings for Army clothing during World War II. The mill was later owned by William Ruger Jr. an heir to the Ruger Firearms Company. Within the last couple years, the mill was purchased for redevelopment into housing, which has not yet materialized.