American Idyll


In the birthplace of the Shingle Style, Rhode Island’s endures as an edifice of leisure—and our vernacular. wagered and lost by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., son of the publisher of the and Newport, Rhode Island, summer resident. Or so the story goes.

During the summer of 1879, he dared his polo partner, retired British captain Henry Augustus Candy, to ride his horse into their club. After he did so—and Bennett’s membership was revoked—plans were hatched for a new club across from Bennett’s home on Bellevue Avenue.

Bennett hired Charles Mckim of New York–based firm Mckim, Mead &


White in late 1879 to build the Newport Casino (meaning “public room for music or dancing”), which opened in July 1880.

The building “establishe­d Mckim as the society architect and cemented the Shingle Style, which he was an early proponent of, as part of American architectu­ral vernacular,” says architect Thomas Kligerman of Ike Kligerman Barkley. But the Casino was not Mckim’s first experience with Rhode Island architectu­re.

“In the 1870s, Mckim visited Rhode Island to study historic Colonial houses,” notes Kligerman, who himself spends summers in the state. One such house,

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