Vinland Estate is a Romanesque Revival summer cottage on the Cliff Walk. This Gilded Age house was completed in 1884 by the architecture firm Peabody & Stearns for wealthy tobacco heiress Catharine Lorillard Wolfe.
Vinland Estate, was completed in 1884. The Romanesque Revival style “cottage” was built for tobacco heiress Catharine Lorillard Wolfe by the acclaimed architecture firm of Peabody & Stearns. At the time, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe was the richest woman in America. The name ‘Vinland” was bestowed upon the summer cottage in reference to the Vikings who were believed have arrived in Newport hundreds of years before. Ms. Wolfe was inspired by a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which spoke of the Vikings’ journey across the Atlantic. It is because of this poem that Vinland Estate bears many Celtic and Nordic motifs.
In 1896, Vinland was sold to railroad tycoon Hamilton McKown Twombly and his wife Florence Adele Vanderbilt Twombly. A decade later, Vinland underwent a massive renovation which included an addition deigned by Peabody & Stearns. The renovation also included an interior redecoration by Ogden Codman, who was also responsible for decorating the upper floors of “The Breakers”.
Vinland has many interesting Nordic-inspired architectural features. Indeed, the facade of the building features carved capitals and decorated in scrollwork, and the windows are embellished with Celtic and Nordic iconographic elements. One of the most intriguing parts about the interior design were the stained glass windows located on the first floor landing. The subjects featured in the upper portion of the window are the Norse gods Thor, Odin, and Frey. The lower portion of the windows included historical viking figures Thorfinn, his Wife Gudridr, and the renowned Leif Erikson. These windows are no longer installed, having been sold to a private collector in 1934.
In 1955, the estate was donated to the Sisters of Mercy. Today, the seaside cottage serves as an academic building for Salve Regina University and is better known to students as Mcauley Hall.