From 1891-1894, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont hired Richard Morris Hunt to design a Newport castle for his horses and himself.
This house may be stylistically the most schizophrenic in design that I have seen. The exterior resembles a French chateau. Walk inside the entrance archway into the courtyard, and one finds oneself surrounded by half timbering that reminds me of an English Tudor style, but I have been reminded that half timbering is seen in Norman style architecture too. All I can say is that the juxtaposition of the two styles so close together is jarring.
About the stables….. I have heard the following about this house: “It is a palatial stable with an incidental apartment attached.” In addition to the stable wing, the whole first floor of the house (the incidental apartment was on the 2nd floor) was also stable space, open to the outside until Alva Vanderbilt Belmont moved in in 1896. Alva enclosed the first floor and turned it into an Italian Renaissance styled hall and banished the horses to the stable wing.
Belcourt is privately owned and open for tours sporadically. I hear that it is up for sale and I hope a suitable buyer can be found for it. It is in need of restoration and it’s history and architecture are worthy of saving.
Click here to see more of my photos of Belcourt Castle.