A Look at Portsmouth, RIs “Gentleman Farms” – Hogan Associates Real Estate Blog

While Newport, Rhode Island, is renowned for its opulent mansions and summer time cottages of the Gilded Age, neighboring Portsmouth offers a exceptional historic legacy: “gentleman farms.” These weren’t your typical agricultural enterprises. A gentleman’s farm, also regarded as a interest farm, is a property owned by a wealthy specific who takes advantage of it for agricultural pursuits generally as a leisure pursuit, not as a principal supply of revenue or sustenance. Owned by wealthy families like the Vanderbilts, these estates mixed the pursuit of leisure with a contact of superior-end farming.

Imagine sprawling estates with picturesque landscapes, not not like the established of a interval drama. As a substitute of huge fields of crops, the meticulously maintained grounds of these farms showcased prized cattle, horses, and other animals. Lets check out record and just take a nearer glimpse into the previous at three of the most popular gentlemans farms in Portsmouth, RI.



Oakland Farm

Portsmouth, RI

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, lies Oakland Farm, a house with a loaded and fascinating history. As soon as owned by the Vanderbilts, this estate encompassed over 1,000 acres and housed a renowned Guernsey herd. The Vanderbilts even proven a dairy, generating their possess butter and product.

The land comprising Oakland Farm was at first aspect of a 100-acre grant awarded to Thomas Cornell in the mid-17th century. Over time, ownership shifted as a result of different arms, which includes outstanding figures like William Ellery Channing, grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1867, the estate was obtained by August Belmont, a rich New York financier, who further expanded the home.



In 1886, Oakland Farm entered its most renowned chapter when Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a member of the famed American dynasty, ordered it. Vanderbilt, presently recognized in nearby Newport with the opulent “The Breakers” mansion, envisioned Oakland Farm as a complementary estate.

Cornelius Vanderbilt II, identified for his passion for horses, reworked Oakland Farm into a point out-of-the-artwork breeding and education facility. He manufactured new barns, stables, and paddocks, precisely built for boosting prized thoroughbred horses. These horses have been not only applied for individual recreation but also equipped other Vanderbilt estates, which includes The Breakers, with carriage horses.

Next Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s demise in 1899, the estate passed to his son, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. Sharing his father’s appreciate for horses, Alfred even further expanded the breeding procedure and actively participated in horse reveals. He also significantly improved the principal residence, adding characteristics like a bowling alley and a swimming pool, reflecting the grandeur of the Vanderbilt life style. The estate served as a retreat for the loved ones, supplying a tranquil escape from the bustling social scene of Newport.

Adhering to Alfreds loss of life in 1915, Oakland Farm handed by way of several trusts just before in the long run being sold in the late 1940s. The extensive assets was subdivided for residential progress, and these days, remnants of the at the time-grand estate can be identified scattered all through the neighborhood.

Glen Farm

Portsmouth, RI

Glen Farm, nestled in the peaceful landscape of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, has a remarkably prosperous background. Its narrative spans generations and encompasses humble beginnings as a performing farm, a transformation into a renowned “gentleman’s estate,” and at last, its present-working day function as a community place. This 1,500-acre estate, after owned by the Taylor family members, featured a French-model chateau and remarkable dairy barns. Glen Farm was regarded for its herd of Ayrshire cattle, a prized breed.

The land comprising Glen Farm was very first settled by European colonists in 1638, the exact same 12 months Portsmouth was launched. These early settlers, trying to get religious freedom, founded a little agricultural local community on the fertile land. In excess of the pursuing century, ownership adjusted hands, with the home ultimately slipping into the possession of Halsey P. Coon, who operated a grist mill on the web-site.

In 1882, Henry A.C. Taylor, a successful New York businessman grew dissatisfied with the bustling summer time scene of Newport and began attaining farmland in Portsmouth. He envisioned establishing a functioning farm, a “gentleman’s estate,” the place he could pursue agricultural endeavors. Taylor’s vision led him to obtain the land surrounding Coon’s grist mill, such as two properties, barns, and corn cribs, totaling 111 acres. He continued obtaining surrounding agricultural parcels, inevitably amassing over 1,500 acres.

Beneath Taylor’s ownership, Glen Farm remodeled into a design of agricultural innovation and excellence. He built new barns, adopted scientific breeding techniques, and targeted on raising prized breeds of livestock. The farm incorporated renowned herds of Guernsey cows, Percheron horses, and Horned Dorset sheep. Taylor’s perseverance to history-maintaining and meticulous documentation more solidified Glen Farm’s track record as a leader in the area.

In the 1920s, Taylor commissioned the renowned architect John Russell Pope, recognized for developing the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., to build the Glen Manor Property. This grand French-model chateau, overlooking the Sakonnet River, became a image of Glen Farm’s grandeur and served as the Taylors’ main home. Pursuing Taylor’s passing in 1937, Glen Farm remained in the relatives till, little by little, parts of the land had been sold off as the estate confronted economical troubles.


The Sisters of the Sacred Heart bought the Glen Farm Manor Home and 43 acres of the encompassing land in 1961 and ran a boarding university, Elmhurst Academy. They made use of the Manor Home as a dormitory for boarding college students and extra lecture rooms, a chapel, a convent, and a dining hall to the assets.

Elmhurst Academy operated at Glen Farm until 1972 when the school closed its doorways. The City of Portsmouth then ordered the home in 1973 and applied the college constructing as Elmhurst Elementary College till that faculty was shut in 2010. The school developing was at some point torn down in 2014, and the remaining part of Glen Farm is now privately owned land and a community park known as Glen Park.


Sandy Position Farm

Portsmouth, RI

Sandy Level Farm, situated on the scenic shores of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, has a legacy steeped in equestrian background and intertwined with the distinguished Vanderbilt family. Its tale demonstrates the evolution of a performing farm into a renowned horse breeding and schooling facility, leaving a long lasting mark on the landscape of Portsmouth.

Ownership of the land comprising Sandy Level Farm can be traced back to the early 17th century when it was section of a more substantial tract granted to a area settler. Over the subsequent centuries, possession transformed palms quite a few situations, serving generally as a doing the job farm and occasional summer months retreat for a variety of families.

Sandy Stage Farm entered a new chapter when it was acquired by Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, son of the famed Cornelius Vanderbilt and brother of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, also acknowledged for his broad estate, Oakland Farm, in Portsmouth. He was also the grandfather of CNN journalist, Anderson Cooper. Reginald, a passionate equestrian and horse breeder, envisioned transforming the home into a premier horse farm.

Reginald Vanderbilt hired architect A.S. Walker to structure and construct the outstanding stables that stand as a testament to Sandy Position Farm’s legacy currently. Development started in 1860 and would not be completed until finally 42 years later on, in 1902. The intricate showcased 24 stalls, a vast 15,000-square-foot indoor using arena, dwelling quarters for grooms, and a devoted guest lounge. The design and style included Neo-Colonial features, further highlighting its magnificence and significance.

Less than Reginald Vanderbilt’s ownership, Sandy Place Farm turned a breeding floor for champion horses. He imported thoroughbreds and other breeds, setting up a popularity for excellence in the equestrian world. The farm actively participated in regional and national horse demonstrates, more solidifying its status as a prominent participant in the industry.

Next Reginald Vanderbilt’s passing in 1925, the farm ongoing its operation under numerous entrepreneurs. Having said that, its concentrate shifted from breeding to principally housing horses for personal use and instruction. The stables have been in constant use right up until March 2023, when they had been closed subsequent the death of the proprietor. Even though the long run of the stables continues to be uncertain, there are initiatives underway to help save the historic constructing.

Gentleman farms offered their owners more than just agricultural pursuits. They served as escapes from the pressures of town lifestyle, furnishing options for leisure functions like horseback driving, hunting, and socializing with other customers of the elite absent from the publics prying eyes.

While the era of the gentleman farm has light, their legacy lives on in the grand estates and agricultural heritage of Portsmouth, RI. These one of a kind attributes offer you a glimpse into a bygone period, the place wealth and leisure intertwined with a contact of agrarian enthusiasm.


Discover much more aspects about how equestrian culture stays powerful in Newport County on our blog site.


If youre intrigued in buying or offering a assets in Newport, RI, or its encompassing communities, Hogan Associates Christies International Real Estate will gladly be your information. Call us at (401) 680-6588 or send out a information to [email protected].

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