Imagine a world where this mansion was your side piece — merely the house where you spend summers, not your permanent digs.
Having trouble picturing such a thing? Us too. But it was reality for Ogden and Mary Goelet. An American heir, businessman and competitive yachtsman, Ogden (1851-1897) lived his best life in New York City.
He married Mary in 1878, and the socialite couple owned New York City townhouse as well as a French villa.
In 1892, they commissioned this grand mansion, Ochre Court, to be their summer digs in Newport, Rhode Island. It is set along the city’s famous Cliff Walk, which overlooks the ocean and is lined with Gilded Age mansions.
Ochre Court cost $4.5 million to build and was Newport’s second largest mansion after The Breakers, both of which were designed by prominent American architect Richard Morris Hunt.
Mary oversaw the summers there. The palace required a whopping 27 house servants, eight coachmen and grooms, and 12 gardeners to stay afloat.
Just five years after this massive structure was built, Ogden died at age 46 aboard his yacht after a two-month illness. His body was sailed back to the United States from the Isle of Wight, with a funeral being held aboard the yacht in Newport.
He left his vast estate to his wife and two children, May and Robert. Mary died in 1929.
In 1947, the Goelet family gifted Ochre Court to the Religious Sisters of Mercy and established Salve Regina University. For the first two years, the manse was the entire college, with the original 58 students living on the third floor, attending classes on the second, and studying and dining on the first. The basement was using for snacking and buying books.
Raise your hand if this place reminds you of Hogwarts. 🙋🏼♀️