Class and Leisureat America's First ResortNewport, Rhode Island1870-1914

Isaac Bell

Isaac BellIsaac Bell was a successful cotton broker and investor, and one of Newport's fashionably wealthy.

Like many of Newport's upper-class families, Bell attended the extravagant costume balls and dinner parties that demonstrated upper-class status.

In 1883, Bell commissioned the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White to design an estate on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. The Isaac Bell House was innovative for its time, combining elements of European, Old English, Colonial American, and Japanese designs.

The Preservation Society of Newport County is restoring the Isaac Bell House.

Kay Davis, University of Virginia, © 2001