Marble House - William Vanderbilt House, Newport Rhode Island
Insofar as the Vanderbilt family is concerned, Marble House represents its first great, "splash" in the social waters of summer Newport. As the ambitious and strong-minded Alva Smith Vanderbilt planned it, it placed her on top of a tidal wave of social importance and it gave to the Newport locale a new standard of luxury, pretension and formality. This house is a showy but handsome monument to our biggest display of the power of money and of "conspicuous consumption."
Within this house and grounds took place many private and public events controlled by Mrs. Vanderbilt (Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont following her divorce); among them were early gatherings of the suffragettes. Because of its chatelaine, perhaps, and surely because of its impressive appearance, Marble House has-always been one of the sights of Newport.
Through the generosity of the builder's son and that of the trustees of the last resident, Frederick H. Prince, the house and a good part of its original furnishings in 1963 came into possession of The Preservation Society of Newport, which now opens it to the public. At that time, the Chinese tea-house was in very poor condition due to lack of maintainence and hurricanes damage.