Wellington Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island
Built in 1865, for Ayres P. Merrill (1825-1883), a plantation owner at Natchez, Mississippi, and the former U.S. Minister to Belgium. It was located on Wellington Avenue by the Ida Lewis Yacht Club and was designed by the Newport's pre-eminent architect of that period, George Champlin Mason Sr. Just five years later (1870), Merrill sold the estate to Stephen Whitney Phoenix, of New York, a wealthy scholar who dedicated his life to Egyptology, genealogy, and travel writing....
This house is best associated with...
Stephen Whitney Phoenix
S. Whitney Phoenix, Scholar & Traveller, of New York & Newport, Rhode Island
Francis Ormond French
"Frank" French, of Tuxedo, N.Y., President of the Manhattan Trust Company
Phoenix was described as a, “fine Greek and Latin Scholar, rich as Croesus and simple in his habits as Ochiltree”. He died just six years later (1881) and his heirs sold Harborview to the newly retired banker, Francis Ormond French (1837-1893), of New York. Through his daughter, Elsie, he was the grandfather of William Henry Vanderbilt III, 59th Governor of Rhode Island. After Elsie divorced the Governor's father, Alfred Vanderbilt, in 1908, she retired to Harborview with her second husband, Paul Fitzsimons, where she died in 1948. Governor Vanderbilt sold the estate after her death and two years later it was demolished for residential subdivision in 1950.