National Geographic : 1968 Sep
art collector, had a Newport house-and his wife had one too, next door. Newporters say that at Belcourt Castle, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont's home, the horses not only had three sets of tack, for morning, afternoon, and evening, but, like their master, slept under linen. And local lore has it that Robert Goelet, admonished by his pastor when he upholstered his church pew in gold plush, replied testily, "I was born in gold plush, I live in gold plush, and I intend to die in gold plush." James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Heraldand son of its founder, was piqued when mem bers of the Reading Room expelled him because a guest of his rode a horse into that staid club. So he retaliated by hiring McKim, Mead, and White, one of the country's leading firms of architects, and building the Newport Casino. The shingled Casino was the scene of the first national men's tennis championships in 1881; now, a bit weather-beaten, it houses the Na tional Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame. Splendid "Cottages" Reflect a Golden Age The Casino stands at one end of fashionable Belle vue Avenue. You follow it to reach three of Newport's most spectacular cottages, The Elms, Marble House, and The Breakers, open to the public under auspices of the Preservation Society of Newport County. Belcourt Castle is shown by its owners. The Elms, an elegant French-style mansion which stands in a garden shaded by 38 kinds of trees, was scheduled for the wrecker's hammer when the society raised money for its purchase in 1962. Its furnishings had been auctioned off for $486,000, but diligent and affluent Newporters refurnished it with precious an tiques. Today it stands as lavishly appointed as ever. The mansion was built for Edward J. Berwind, a Philadelphia coal merchant, and every other Saturday night for many years Mrs. Berwind entertained at a gala ball. Now on summer Saturday nights the house again gleams with lights, and soft music accompanies visitors through the stately rooms. I visited William K. Vanderbilt's Marble House, farther down the avenue, in late afternoon. The sun, streaming through tall windows, struck fire from heavy beveled-glass doors and mirrors, reflected brightly from gold walls, and glowed from red, yellow, and white marble (pages 394-5). In the dining room, with mottled pink marble walls and Corinthian pilasters topped with gilded capitals, I tried to move one of the chairs. I could scarcely budge it, and was not surprised to find it was solid bronze. Footmen to move such furniture were essential at for mal affairs, and Vanderbilt supplied them, liveried in maroon coats, black knee breeches, gilt garters, and patent-leather shoes. William Vanderbilt had made a good try with Mar ble House, but his brother Cornelius dwarfed his multimillion-dollar achievement with The Breakers, 398 Tilted horn and ballooning cheeks identify jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Metropolitan Opera star Roberta Peters attends a "Meet the Met" party. Transported by music, bass violist Larry Coreal strums at the Jazz Festival.