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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Virtual Tour of Rosecliff–Newport, RI

Rosecliff from the front lawn
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Rosecliff is the third of the Newport Gilded Age mansions for us to explore here. It is probably my least favorite – I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it might be because it just doesn’t feel quite as grand when compared to the others. However, it is still absolutely beautiful. Rosecliff is located at 548 Bellevue Ave and was built between 1899 and 1902. The home cost $2.5 million at that time (approximately $68 million today). Theresa Fair Oelrichs and her husband Hermann Oelrichs were the first family to live there with their one son – that is a huge house for 3 family members! Mrs. Oelrichs came into her money through her father, who made his fortune in the Comstock Lode silver find. Mr. Oelrichs was a business man and shipping magnate.

Left: Hermann Oelrichs, Right: Theresa Fair Oelrichs

Rosecliff’s design is inspired by the Grand Trianon, but on a smaller scale, by architect Samuel White. Its footprint is in the shape of an H with three floors. There are three main bedrooms and several guest rooms on the second floor, with over 20 servant bedrooms on the third floor. Other rooms of note are the billiard and dining rooms; however, the most impressive of its rooms is the ballroom.

The ballroom in Rosecliff is the largest of the ballrooms in Newport and accordingly it was put to good use in entertaining. Mrs. Oelrichs was one of the top hostesses in Newport, actually among the top three. One of the most notable parties hosted at Rosecliff was the “Bal Blanc” party in celebration of the Astor Cup Races in 1904 which decorated everything in silver and white. I can just imagine how beautiful that would have been!

Rosecliff has been featured as a setting in several movies including:

  • The Great Gatsby (1974) – Many scenes of Jay Gatsby’s house


  • True Lies – The Ballroom and Grand Staircase


  • And Amistad and 27 Dresses.

The Newport Preservation Society was given Rosecliff in 1971 by the Monroe family (who eventually acquired the home after it changed hands many times after being sold by the Oelrichs’. It was then opened to the public. The house is currently open for tours seasonally (not in the winter) and tickets can be purchased for a combination tour with the other mansions in the Gilded Age package. Rosecliff also hosts these special events: The Newport Flower Show, Newport Wine and Food Festival, Mother’s Day Brunch, the Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch, various Fashion Shows, and can be rented for spectacular weddings! Who doesn’t want to celebrate in a beautiful setting – the wedding might be a little steep, but the other events are fairly reasonable to attend. I’m actually thinking of doing Mother’s Day brunch with my mom and mother-in-law-to-be next year.

This video below gives you a nice tour of the grounds of Rosecliff:

You can find out more about Rosecliff through the Newport Preservation Society.

I have been to Newport several times, however of course I can’t find my photos of Rosecliff (every other house, yes, but not Rosecliff).

Have you ever visited Rosecliff or been to any of the special functions in Newport?


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Wow, I didn't know that was The Great Gatsby's house. I think I've heard about this mansion on the tv show Castles, Secrets, and Legends.

    1. That was one of the few things I actually knew about the Newport mansions in general before visiting them.


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