The Drexel Estate (Stonor Lodge) at 479 Bellevue Avenue was completely destroyed by a quick moving fire Thursday afternoon. Police and fire were quickly on scene but unfortunately could not save the home.
Rob Raffa was the first on scene and provided us with this amazing video!
A second video was provided to us by Michael Paddon who lives in the neighborhood.
Built between 1870 and 1880, Stonor Lodge was originally known as Mayfield Cottage. It’s first owner was Mrs. William E. Glyn., who was known for her extremely fast carriages. A fire destroyed most of the house in 1916, leaving only a few rooms partially damaged by the fire.
The estate and ruins were purchased by Lord and Lady Camoys, Ralph Stonor and Mildred Sherman, who built a completely new home on the spot. When Mildred died she passed the estate to her son-in-law and daughter, John R Drexel III and Noreen Stonor in 1943. Mr Drexel had grown up in Newport, living at either Cliff Walk estate on Bellevue Avenue or Fairholme, next door to The Breakers. On the grounds, they built a large garage and connecting guest cottage.
Noreen was good friends with Janet Auchincloss and also became friends with her daughter, Jackie. The day before Jackie’s marriage to President John F. Kennedy, Jackie rushed over to Stonor Lodge to escape the hubub of the wedding preparations. The maid let her in as Noreen walked down the stairs with a puzzled look on her face. “Oh Mrs Drexel” Jackie implored “May I stay here for the day? I need to get away from the house. I won’t bother you- I brought a book to read” she said, indicating her to the book in her hand. “Of course Jackie” said Drexel “We are always happy to see you here”. And so, Jackie spent the day before her wedding reading a book in the sunroom of Stonor Park.
John Drexel died in 2007. Noreen turned over the main house to her children and decided to turn the estate’s garage into her residence. After 2 months of renovation, the garage was turned into a comfortable and luxurious residence. It was here that Noreen died on November 6 2012.