Iconic Bellevue Avenue Estate is Sold

Newport, Rhode Island (September 30, 2021) Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty announced today the sale of “Miramar” 646 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. The seller was represented by David Huberman of Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty.  The buyer was unrepresented. Located on Bellevue Avenue, Miramar is one of Newport’s finest Gilded Age mansions, and one of Newport’s largest private homes. Its oceanfront setting offers panoramic views of the Rhode Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean.

In 1912 George D. Widner of Philadelphia commissioned architect Horace Trumbauer to design a summer cottage for his family. Trumbauer had designed several prominent buildings in Philadelphia as well “The Elms” in Newport, his design for Miramar was a neoclassical French petit palais constructed of limestone, inspired by eighteenth-century French architecture. On over 8 acres, Miramar’s grounds were designed by French landscape architect Jacques Greber, who laid out the grand parterre gardens facing Bellevue Avenue. In April of 1912 the Wideners were returning from a visit to Paris where, among other things, they were looking for furniture and decorative objects for their Newport house.  They were aboard the RMS Titanic. In the early morning hours of April 15th, 1912, Eleanor Elkins Widener and her maid stepped into one of the lifeboats after the ship struck an iceberg.  Her husband, George, and her son, Harry, did not survive.  Upon her safe return to America, the widowed Mrs. Widener continued with plans for her Newport house, named Miramar (Spanish for “sea-view’) as a memorial to her husband. Eleanor later donated the money to Harvard University to build the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library in her sons memory who was a Harvard alumni and avid book collector. 

Listing agent David Huberman of Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty said “Miramar is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one of the most spectacular estates in Newport. The design, construction, setting, and historical pedigree of this property are second to none. From private entry through its elaborate gates, to the flow through arched doorways from formal dining spaces through grand ball rooms to its exquisite seaside terrace it offers grandeur, and an opportunity to own a piece of history that can not be recreated.” Its most recent owners had undertaken a detailed study and conservation of the estate with an international team of preservation consultants and advisors. Exterior stone cleaning, repointing, roof and balustrade work, a new geothermal heating and cooling system, interior paint analysis, tree care, and much more have been implemented, bringing the house and grounds on a course back to the original vision of Mrs. Widener and her design team.

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