Kay Street-Catherine Street-Old Beach Road Neighborhood

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Newport, RI
United States
Kay Street-Catherine Street-Old Beach Road Neighborhood

Occupying the high ground  beyond the eastern limits of the early settlement of Newport, and formerly known as ‘The Hill,’  this neighborhood developed between 1830 and 1910 on what had been agricultural land. It is bounded approximately by Easton’s Pond, Memorial Boulevard, and Bellevue Avenue, and also includes several blocks between Broadway and Kay Street. Some of the earliest buildings to appear were hotels accommodating visitors to what had become a popular summer resort, clustered around northern Bellevue Avenue and the western terminus of Catherine Street. Among the first structures, The Redwood Library and Athenæum, was built by Peter Harrison in 1748 (with gardens designed by John Russell Pope and installed in 1935). From 1845 to 1870, several large estates were built in the neighborhood; but it was over the next twenty-five years that it reached the height of its development.

Set among wide streets and treed lawns on expansive lots, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, and Shingle Style cottages were designed by some of the nation’s most prominent architects: five by the firm of McKim, Mead & White (including the well-known Coleman House), and at least six were the work of Richard Morris Hunt, who also owned a residence here. While the area became an enclave of illustrious artists, writers, and socialites, new construction ceased almost entirely during the Great Depression, after which homes were no longer built solely for seasonal use. The neighborhood was designated an historic district in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.