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For Immediate Release:
Feb.24, 2006
John Wright

Secretary Norton Designates Two Rhode Island Sites as National Historic Landmarks
"These amazing sites help to preserve a legacy of our turn of the century architecture"

WASHINGTON- Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton announced today that the Chateau-sur-Mer house and the Marble House, both located in Newport, Rhode Island, have been designated as National Historic Landmarks.

"These amazing sites help to preserve a legacy of our turn of the century architecture and design," Norton said. "It is through these historic sites that we preserve and share our rich history for future generations."

Chateau-sur-Mer is a palatial Victorian style mansion built in 1852 by local contractor Seth Bradford for William S. Wetmore. The mansion was remodeled during the 1870s by prominent American architect Richard Morris Hunt. Mr. Hunt altered many of the design features and significantly reworked the house creating a Second Empire French style chateau. The interiors of Chateu-sur-Mer exhibit significant examples of the historic revivalism that dominated so much of the 19th and 20th century design. The house serves as one of the best examples of British and European design in America.

Marble House, a mansion built in 1892 by prominent American architect Richard Morris Hunt for William K. Vanderbilt. The house utilizes features of the Grand and Petit Trianons at Versailles and contains 500,000 cubic feet of marble from Europe and Africa. Marble House is considered by many as a temple on a landscape atop the cliff of Newport overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It was one of the earliest of the Beaux Arts houses to appear in America, and it would serve to influence the design of architecture.

The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties. These special places are the actual sites where significant historical events occurred, or where prominent Americans worked or lived, and represent the ideas that shaped our nation. Fewer than 2,500 historic places carry the title of National Historic Landmark. Additional information on the National Historic Landmark program can be found on the National Park Service website at