Visit The BreakersPlan Your Visit
This 70-room villa was built by architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1895 for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad. The Breakers is the grandest of Newport, Rhode Island's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. Its interiors include rich marbles and gilded rooms, a 50-foot-high Great Hall, mosaic tile floors and ceilings, and open-air terraces with magnificent ocean views. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, inspired by the 16th-century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed the relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters. The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Szechenyi of Hungary, inherited the house on her mother's death in 1934. An ardent supporter of The Preservation Society of Newport County, she opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the organization's mission of preserving Newport's architectural heritage. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark.
See several online exhibitions organized by the Newport Historical Society.