Edward King House 1845-1847

Richard Upjohn, architect


Engraving of Upjohn's design from Andrew J. Downing's The Architecture of County Houses.

The Edward King House, is a monumentally scaled residence at 35 King street in Newport RI. It was designed for Edward King in the "Italian Villa" style by Richard Upjohn and was built between 1845 and 1847, making it one of the earliest representations of the style. It was the largest and grandest house in Newport when it was built. Edward King was the largest landowner in town by 1860, having made his fortune through the China Trade.


The house is built in brick, has asymmetrical massing, arched window heads, and a prominent three story tower. It was Upjohn's first use of the "Italian Villa" style. These elements would later come to be considered typical features of Italianate design. The house was featured in Andrew Jackson Downing's The Architecture of Country Houses in 1850, including an engraving of the house and architectural plans. Downing described the house as "one of the most successful specimens of the Italian style in the United States." He went on to note the great variety of window sizes and types and noted the harmony of the design.  The Edward King House was donated to the city of Newport in 1912 by Edward King's son and subsequently housed the Newport Public Library until 1968. It is now The Newport Senior Center at the Edward King House. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on 15 October 1970 and designated as a National Historic Landmark on 30 December 1970. 


Edward King

Edward King was born in Newport February 15, 1818 to Dr. David King (1774-1836) and Ann Gordon King.  David had arrived in Newport in 1799, married Ann Gordon in 1806 and the family of five would eventually include George Gordon (1807-1870), Ann, David Jr. (1812-1882), Edward (1817-1875), and William Henry(1819-1897).  The four boys would be educated at Brown University. David would follow his father in a career in medicine, George became a politician, and Edward and William earned fortunes in the China trade working for Russell and Company.


With his fortune Edward returned to Newport and married Mary Augusta Leroy (born Nov. 16, 1829, died May 3, 1905). The couple had seven children; Edward Augustus King (1852-1878), Elizabeth S King (1855-), Leroy King (1857-1895), George G. King (1859-1922), Mary L King(1862-), Edith E. King (1864-), Alex M. King (1859-) . Edwards brother William purchased the Jones estate in 1864, later owned by his nephew David King and the estate would be known as Kingscote. Edward's fortune would be enlarged as he was active in real estate in Newport at a very profitable time. He is noted as being the largest land owner in Newport history and formed partnerships with other prominent men, most notable being J.N.A. Griswold.



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