While the story is set in Newport, many of the scenes were shot at MGM Studios in Culver City, California, with a Bel Air mansion standing in for Newport. The film opens with a scenic flyover of Newport and its Gilded Age mansions including The…

Sunny von Bülow, a wealthy Newport resident active in charity and social organizations, was found unconscious and undressed on the floor of her bathroom. Sunny had suffered catastrophic brain damage and would likely remain in a persistent vegetative…

In 1888, William Kissam Vanderbilt gave his wife Alva Marble House as a 39th birthday gift. The railroad magnate spared no expense on his wife’s summer home, which used 500,000 cubic feet of various marbles, gathered from across the globe, and is…

Amistad is based on the 1839 story of Sierra Leone tribesmen, kidnapped as slaves, who staged a mutiny. The mutineers ordered the crew to return them to Africa, but the navigator instead sailed to New England. Importing slaves had been illegal since…

The film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, directed by Jack Clayton, starred Robert Redford as the newly wealthy businessman Jay Gatsby trying to win the affection of his former love Daisy Buchanan, played by Mia Farrow. Set…

In June of 1776, on the highest point of ground in Newport, the Americans erected a signal beacon and a small fortification. This high point is known as Tonomi Hill, a shortening of Miantonomi, the name of the sachem of the Narragansetts when Newport…

In early 1776, the residents of the Point neighborhood in Newport awoke to see the British frigate HMS Scarborough anchored just offshore. With the threat of war suddenly looming, the town hastily threw up a semi-circular earthwork fort at the…

“I would have been a millionaire today if I had bent to prejudice.” So said George Thomas Downing, prominent African American Rhode Island restaurateur and civil rights champion. From behind the curtains of his lavish Sea Girt Hotel, built on…

“In Memory of Duchess Quamino, A free black of distinguished excellence: Intelligent, Industrious, Affectionate, Honest, and of Exemplary Piety, Who deceased June 4, 1804, aged 65.” Quamino’s weather-worn marker, along with nearly 300…