City, Culture and Architecture, 2015- Volume 1- Issue 1- pp.1-20
Catherine W. Zipf
Abstract: Newport, RI, is most often thought of as a haven of Gilded Age-era European-style mansions that communicated the wealth and power of America’s elite class. Yet, Irish immigrants played a key role in the construction of the city’s mid-nineteenth-century urban fabric, which predated the mansion movement and lay the foundation from which Newport’s resort culture developed. During the nineteenth century, buildings built by Newport’s Irish immigrants followed established American architectural traditions,but in ways that reflected the outlook of this population and its heritage of immigration. Despite this effort to assimilate and build for themselves, the neighborhood the Irish constructed paved the way for large-scale constructions undertaken by families like the Vanderbilts and substantially influenced the city’s development. This paper explores these issues in order to better understand what urban fabric Newport’s Irish constructed and how it lay the foundation for the city’s iconic Gilded Age architecture.
Keywords: Architecture, Urban Development, Irish Immigration, Newport, RI