In Newport, Rhode Island, there is a historic home called Hunter House (1748). Near the northernmost point of the Newport Historic District, in the Easton’s Point neighborhood, at 54 Washington Street. One of Newport’s finest examples of Colonial architecture is Hunter House. Rich merchants owned the house, which was constructed on the harbor front when the city was a bustling seaport in the British Empire.
History, Renovations and Restoration of the Hunter House over the Years
Hunter House’s original section was constructed in 1748 for Jonathan Nichols Jr., the Colonial Deputy Governor. This substantial two-story home has a gambrel roof with a balustrade and thick stud work. Colonel Joseph Wanton Jr., a merchant and the colony’s deputy governor, purchased the property in 1756.
By enlarging the home and constructing a second chimney in the south wing, Wanton created a formal Georgian mansion with a spacious central hall.
When French forces stayed in Newport in 1780, Admiral De Ternay, the commander of the French fleet, used the house as his headquarters.
After the war, the house was purchased by Senator and Ambassador William Hunter, who turned it into a formal Georgian Colonial mansion with a spacious central hall. Midway through the 1850s, Hunter’s widow sold the home, which then had several different owners.
Architect Charles Follen McKim, a relative by marriage of Benjamin Robinson Smith, renovated the home in 1874. The Storer family of Boston and Newport donated the home to St. Joseph’s Church so that it could be used as a convent.
Finally, the property was saved from demolition in 1945 by the fledgling Preservation Society of Newport County, whose purchase led to its restoration. On November 24, 1968, the property received the designation of National Historic Landmark.
The Preservation Society’s most recent investigation has revealed that Hunter House was home to and operated by at least thirteen slaves.
Architectural Features of Hunter House
Exterior of the House
An outstanding example of Georgian-style architecture from the middle of the 18th century is the Hunter House in Newport, Rhode Island. Brick walls and wooden accents, such as a pedimented doorway with a fanlight, cornice, and pilasters, define the house’s exterior. The placement of evenly spaced windows with shutters and decorative molding on either side of the doorway emphasizes the facade’s symmetry even more.
Interior of the House
The house has a conventional center-hall layout inside, with rooms placed on either side of a broad hallway. The exquisitely crafted woodwork and paneling that decorate the interior show off the time’s skilled craftsmanship. The impressive focal point in the main hallway is the grand staircase leading to the upper floors.
The elegant parlor, which has elaborate moldings and a decorative marble fireplace, is a standout feature of the home. Similar decorative paneling and a fireplace, which is distinguished by its carved wooden mantelpiece, can be found in the dining room. The upper floors’ bedrooms have paneled walls and original decorative elements.
Overall, Hunter House’s architectural details are a testament to the fine craftsmanship and focus on detail that characterized colonial-era construction. For those interested in Newport, Rhode Island’s history and architecture, the house is still a well-preserved example of the Georgian style.
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Significance of Hunter House
Role of Hunter House in Newport’s history
A significant part of Newport, Rhode Island’s history has been played by Hunter House. The house, which was constructed in 1748, has over the years been linked to several illustrious families and has been the site of numerous significant city-related events.
The Hunter family, who bought the house in 1774, was among its most notable owners. One of Newport’s wealthiest and most powerful families at the time, the Hunters contributed significantly to the social and economic growth of the city. At the home, which developed into a hub of Newport’s social scene, the family frequently hosted opulent gatherings and events.
The French Admiral de Ternay, who was crucial to the alliance between France and the United States during the Revolutionary War, had his headquarters at Hunter House. The house’s significance in the city’s wartime history is highlighted by the fact that it served as a military hospital during the conflict.
Hunter House’s current purpose
To give visitors a glimpse into Newport’s rich history and cultural heritage, the house now doubles as a museum and event space.
As a military command post, a hub of social and political activity, and a superb example of colonial architecture, Hunter House has played a significant part in Newport’s history. Visitors and locals alike continue to celebrate and appreciate its importance in the history of the city.
Also, people ask:
Who owned the Hunter House?
Colonel Joseph Wanton Jr., a merchant and the colony’s deputy governor, purchased the property in 1756.
Who is the Hunter family?
By the fifteenth century, the Hunters were the hereditary custodians of the royal forests of Arran and Little Cumbrae. The family claims a long line of descent from those who held comparable offices in England and Normandy prior to their immigration to Scotland, and it appears that they have held this office from an early date.
How old is Hunter House?
Hunter House’s original section was constructed in 1748 for Jonathan Nichols Jr., the Colonial Deputy Governor.
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