Preservation Society of Newport County Celebrates Opening of New Welcome Center at The Breakers

 

Sarah & Bernard Gewirz with Susan & Donald Ross


After more than 10 years of planning, work, and  opposition, The Preservation Society of Newport County was joined by nearly 600 supporters for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of its new Welcome Center at The Breakers.

Donald and Susan Ross with Governor Raimondo

The Event was combined with the annual meeting of The Preservation Society,and was complete with fanfares, honored guests, architects, designers and builders.  And it was sensational.
 

 

"This is an investment in Newport, in Rhode Island,  in our history and in our economy," said Governor Gina Raimondo to the audience at the Annual Meeting.  "I am proud of you and filled with gratitude for your commitment to Rhode Island, and on behalf of the people of Rhode Island, I thank you."

 

The Thompson Middle School band

 

 
The $5.5 million Welcome Center introduces visitors to the Newport Mansions inside a light-filled, park-like pavilion, inspired by late 19th century garden conservatory architecture, embedded in a newly rehabilitated historic garden. Four hundred and fifty thousand (450,000) people a year visit the former Vanderbilt mansion, which is now a National Historic Landmark and an icon of America’s Gilded Age.
 

Announcing the Agenda

"The Welcome Center will operate virtually unseen as it supplies a gracious introduction to  all of the Preservation Society's properties," said Preservation Society Chairman Monty Burnham.  "It will provide the cordial hospitality that our visitors deserve, with limited refreshments, climate controlled places to rest, and clean and accessible bathrooms. The 450,000 people who visit The Breakers from more than 100 countries every year deserve nothing less.”

 

 

Saluting the national anthem


The ceremony was infused with patriotic and stirring music by the  band of Thompson Middle School.  And banners were walked in front of the eager audience by young ladies, defining the point of program.  "Grace Under Fire" awards were presented by Trudy Coxe to all who helped in the battle to support and construct the stunning edifice.

 

William H. Lucey speaking

The lively meeting adjourned to the ribbon cutting, participated in by designers, builders, and officers of the Preservation Society.

A long  battle had been graciously won.

                                                             —L.P.

For full details on The Welcome Center and its architecture and construction, go to our "History & Architecture "page.

 
The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area's historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history.  Its 11 historic properties--seven of them National Historic Landmarks--span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.
 

 

 


 Elizabeth McMillen lauding the Welcome Center

 

 


 


Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop congratulating the Preservation Society

 

 
 


  Eaddo Kiernan with Doug Reed, of Reed Hilderbrand, Landscape Architects, accepting a Laurel Award

 

 

 

Doug Reed detailing the process and thanking the Preservation Society


 


  Archie vanBeuren speaking

 

 

 

 


 


Mike Behan, builder, describes the construction  project

 

 

 

 


 


  Deborah Epstein ( back to the camera) and Alan Joslin of Epstein Joslin Architects, Builders

 

 


 


Trudy Coxe, Executive Director of the Preservation Society, thanking all supporters

 

  


  Applause for the supporters of the initiative

 

 


  Principals lining up for the ribbon cutting
 

 


 Ready, set........

  

Done!

 


  Chairman of the PS board Monty Burnham, former President Donald O. Ross, & Executive Director Trudy Coxe

 

 

Monty Burnham & Donald O. Ross 

 


  An historical display inside the Center

 


  The food area with Nancy & Bill Wilson

 


 

 

 


  The member meeting post-ceremony

 


  Randal Poirier, Kaity Ryan of the Preservation Society, and Edward MacPherson of the Island Moving Company

 

 


  Friend,  Naomi Neville, Steve Waluk & Friend

 

 


  Steven Gewirz & Bill Wilson


 

The program --Triumph!

 

 

 

   To purchase an image, contact Linda(a)NewportSeen.com.  All images copyrighted


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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