History


Aldrich Mansion is situated on a majestic seventy-five acre estate on scenic Narragansett Bay. Built during the “Golden Years” of Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, a Rhode Island native born to poverty but destined for greatness. The estate once held a Teahouse, since destroyed by fire. It was here Abby Aldrich, one of the Senator’s eight children, wed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (the sole male heir to the Standard Oil fortune and father of Nelson A. Rockefeller, former Governor of New York and later Vice President of the United States).

Along with the elegant Chateau itself, the estate is home to a Carriage House, Caretaker’s Cottage and Boathouse. Originally built to aid in the transportation of goods to Warwick Neck, a railway and supply tunnel led from the 150-foot tower to the Mansion.

Construction on the Chateau began in 1896 by the New York firm of Carrere & Hastings. Nearly two hundred craftsmen, many of whom were dispatched from Europe, were commissioned to create this dynamic structure. Some sixteen years later, the seventy-room Mansion, once known as Indian Oaks, was completed.

Ornate paintings and intricate woodcarvings adorn the halls and chambers. Italian marble, in a diversity of design and color is employed extensively for fireplaces, floors and bathrooms. The vaulted ceilings of a spacious receiving room are resplendent with golden richness. The vast living and dining halls, as well as a music and fine arts chamber, are located on the main floor.

A magnificent marble staircase leads to the second level. Six elegant suites, each with its own marble-fireplaced bath and bedroom, occupy this floor. The Senator and Mrs. Aldrich (former Abby Chapman Greene), each inhabited one of the three larger of these suites, which include sitting room, dressing room and walk-in closet. The Senator’s suite holds a private staircase leading to the Great Terrace overlooking Narragansett Bay. Guarding the terrace sit two decorative marble sphinxes. Above this second level are eight more suites, each with a private bath, once used for visiting guests and family.

French doors serve as windows throughout the halls and rooms of this floor. All are framed by waist-high railings installed to protect Mrs. Aldrich during her occasional sleep-walking episodes.

In 1939, eighty-five acres of the Aldrich Mansion estate were transferred by the Senator’s heirs to the Providence Diocese for a token sum. In 1946, Our Lady of Providence Seminary made the Aldrich Mansion its home.

Today, the elegant and charming atmosphere of Aldrich Mansion serves as the perfect site for wedding receptions, bridal and baby showers, birthday and anniversary parties. With its panoramic view of the Bay, the Mansion also serves especially well as a serene location for conferences, meetings and seminars.

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