DEM spokesman Mike Healey told WPRI News 12 that the dilapidated stables would be demolished in roughly three months and that the DEM surveyed the former estate back in February 2022 and determined that it couldn’t be salvaged or restored due to its condition.
The Bells has been a popular place with teenagers, photographers, and explorers for decades. For the last ten years, access has been limited by an inadequate and easily scaled fence surrounded by “no trespassing” signs.
Formerly one of Newport’s grandest estates, The Bells sits in disrepair at Brenton Point State Park on The Ocean Drive here in Newport, RI.
Once known as The Reefs, the home was built in 1876 for copper magnate Theodore Davis. Upon his death in 1915 the home was purchased by the Budlong family. When the Budlongs divorced in 1928 the home became a focus of their divorce battle and it was never lived in again.
During WWII the home housed gunnery personnel who manned anti-aircraft gun emplacements. The home was set on fire in 1961 and demolished in 1963.
DEM estimated the cost to rehab the building would be upwards of $2 million and have decided to demolish it.
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