Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Anita O'Keefe and Robert R. Young Building

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Institution Name: Salve Regina University
Original/Historic Place Name: Fairlawn
Location on Campus: Bellevue Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1852-1853original construction Bradford, Seth
1860addition of ballroom Hunt, Richard Morris
1870extension of ballroom Unknown
1881addition of second-story bedrooms McKim, Mead & White
ca. 1890addition of porch Peabody & Stearns
1960sreturned to residential use Unknown
1997acquisition by university; adaptation to house Pell Center Newport Collaborative Architects, Inc.
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: pressed brick
Roof: slate
ca. 1853-1920sprivate residence
ca. 1920s-1960sother (preparatory school and junior college)
ca. 1960s-1997private residence
ca. 1997-present (2007)academic department building (Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy)

Significance: architecture, culture, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterOchre Point-Cliffs Historic District (1975)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Fairlawn was one of about a dozen cottages erected as part of the initial development of Bellevue Avenue during the 1850s. This three-story brick and wood frame structure built for Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Ritchie of Boston is as well known for its history as its design. Wrought iron gates and a mosaic tiled floor at the front entrance lead to the Great Hall with its beautiful carved staircase. The dining room, paneled in dark carved wood under an ornamental ceiling, was used to seat up to 100 guests. Benjamin Harris's Vice President, Levi P. Morton, bought the property in the late 1860s and commissioned Richard Morris Hunt, designer of Ochre Court, to build a ballroom on the south side. The room, with its mirrored panels and frescoes above the double doorway, was added in 1870 expressly for the visit of Ulysses S. Grant shortly after he became President.

In 1881, the firm of McKim, Mead & White designed second-story family rooms over the ballroom. It was during this period of renovation that the stained glass Tiffany windows were added to the Great Hall. I. Towsend Burden bought the house nine years later and commissioned Peabody & Stearns to design a curved porch. Fairlawn remained a private residence until the 1920s. It has served as a preparatory school and a junior college and was returned to residential use after the 1960s. Acquired by the university in 1997 to house the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, it has recently been restored and renamed in honor of Newport residents and longtime benefactors Anita O'Keefe Young and Robert R. Young. The university received the Newport Historical Society's Historic Preservation Award in 1999 for the restoration of this building.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Harrington, Richard B. Ochre Point-Cliffs Historic District [including Salve Regina University]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1975.

Moe, Richard. A Walking Tour of Salve Regina University. Pamphlet. [Newport, RI: Salve Regina University, n.d.].

II. Location of other data:
University: Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

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