Let’s face it…” No one holds the hands of time”
Advances in the cosmeceutical industry promise to repair our collectively sagging foundations from top-to-bottom. Plumped, sucked, tucked; so far, the faux-plateau of youthful appearances fools no one.
Thankfully however, the same can’t be said for advances in historic preservation!
Touched by the ravages of more than 100 years of sun, salt-air and snow, 548 Bellevue Ave in Newport, Rhode Island began to show signs of age. Dull roots framed the cracking facade of Rosecliff. In the winter of discontent, this old beauty needed a 2023 style facelift.
Combining the talents of old-school craftsmen and the vision of members of Newport’s Preservation Society, restorations from top-to-bottom fundamentally transformed this matron. Today after months of hard work, she’s as beautiful as she was in her debutante season.
Modeled after Versailles, the garden retreat of French Kings, Rosecliff’s rejuvenation proves what’s true for beauty-marks doesn’t necessarily hold true for landmarks.
Originally commissioned by Theresa Fair Oelrichs, a Nevada silver heiress, this ‘Summer Cottage’ was fully dressed for her debut in 1902. The price for the mansion and garden ensemble was $2.5 million. Boasting of Newport’s largest ballroom, Rosecliff was as likely to host fairy-tale dinner parties as the magic of Harry Houdini.
With completion of one of the most extensive restoration projects in the history of the Preservation Society of Newport, this fairy-tale beauty has magically defied the hands of time and is nearly-ready to welcome guests to share her timeless elegance and her many lessons.
Mike Taber, director of the restoration project said the matron’s fabulous $7.4 million facelift began at the front door. Men and women who took pride in working on this once-in-a-lifetime professional privilege arrived before dawn, in the middle of winter to collaborate with each other.
Resurfacing wrought-iron grates revealed a glimpse of life on Bellevue Ave. Uncovering old-gold embellishments metaphorically translated a glossed-over chapter in American history. Those glimmers are the hallmark of entrepreneurial and social revolutions reflecting the signature of cultural inspirations and aspirations. Ambition, civility, and un-abashed pride of accomplishment were a few the character traits on full display for Newport’s colony of summer residents.
The luster of the front-door’s gilding is matched around and throughout the mansion. 600 feet of ornate balustrades were newly fabricated, exterior marble and terra-cotta tiles were steam cleaned, fountains were sandblasted, textiles were replaced and the central garden was restored.
Hard work, attention to detail and a collaborative spirit of commitment preserved the integrity of Rosecliff’s original beauty, once marked as a private home now a landmark in our shared history of the pursuit of happiness (and sometime ~ a fabulously successful face-lift!)
The grey hands of time have been lifted
Rosecliff will open to the public September 1, 2023. Tickets are available on line : www.newportmansions.org
Rosecliff a sociological mirror of our society.