Historic Structures

John N. A. Griswold House, Newport Rhode Island

Date added: August 10, 2010 Categories: Rhode Island House

The original owner and builder, John N.A. Griswold, was recognized as a leading financier. One-time president of the Illinois Central Railroad, he was prominent in national railroad circles until the 1890's. He served as the United States Consul to Shanghai from 1848 to 1854. In 1863, he settled in Newport and was extremely active in city improvements, real estate, and land development.

The home was sold to The Art Association of Newport by the J.N.A. Griswold Estate on November 11th 1915 and is used as an art gallery.

Over-all dimensions: About 100 feet by 60 feet; irregular in plan; two-and-one-half stories.

Floor plan: The large polygonal hall at the center of the house is five steps above the entrance vestibule. The four major rooms of the first floor are arranged around the central hall. The small, square reception room, now used as the ladies' lounge and restroom, is located at the northeast corner of the house. The parlor, converted for gallery space, is located at the northwest corner. Diagonally from the central hall are located the library to the southwest and the dining room to the southeast. These eight-cornered, rectangular rooms are separated by a square hall on axis with the entrance. This axis terminates in a hexagonal sun room which projects from the south side of the house. This conservatory opens to the library and dining room through its interior diagonal walls. The office is reached through the diagonally-placed door at the southeast corner of the dining room. The door in the northeast corner opens to the remodelled pantry. A long hallway from the central hall leads to the large gallery, formerly the stable, on the east side of the house.