The Dupont Circle Mansion That Left DC For Rhode Island

  • September 22nd 2021

by Nena Perry-Brown

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207 Ruggles Avenue. Click to enlarge.

For the uber-wealthy DC resident inspired by the pandemic to move away, This Week's Other Find offers an option that enables you to keep a piece of DC with you. 

The Rhode Island manor now known as the "Seaview Terrace Mansion" (among other names) is currently on the market for $29.9 million. But its original home was in Dupont Circle. 

In the 1870s, a French Gothic-style mansion was constructed by the Galt family on the triangular lot at Connecticut Avenue and 19th Street NW (map), per House History Man. After being purchased by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law in the early 1880s, liquor magnate Edson Bradley acquired the property in 1907 for $166,500.

Click to enlarge.

Bradley then commissioned architect Howard Greenley to begin expanding the house, shipping in entire rooms that had been assembled in France. The property grew to 16,000 square feet, occupying over half a city block. Its new amenities included a ballroom, an art gallery, what may have been the first (500-seat, multi-story) home theatre, and a Gothic chapel that could accommodate 150 patrons.

In 1923, the Bradleys wanted to move near the water in Rhode Island, but didn't want to leave their new home behind. Thus launched a two-year house-moving process that would be memorialized on Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Under Greenley's watch, the mansion was dismantled and shipped to Newport (map) by truck and railway.

Click to enlarge.

The destination already housed a late 19th century Elizabethan-Revival mansion dubbed "Sea View"; the two properties were joined together, a driveway between separating the domestic living quarters from the main house. The entire process, resulting in a nearly 44,000 square-foot estate, cost over $2 million.

After Bradley's death, his daughter lived there until 1941, by which time a tax dispute led her to leave the house. The property was then used as a quarters for Army officers during World War II before being sold in 1949, when it was converted into a boarding school for girls.

Click to enlarge.

While the property remained a school through the early 1970s, its exterior was also used to represent the "Collinwood Mansion" in horror soap opera Dark Shadows, subsequently inspiring one of the haunted mansions depicted on Scooby-Doo. Preservationists Millicent and Martin Carey purchased the property in 1974, leasing the main house and gatehouse to Salve Regina University until 2009. Since then, the mansion has also been featured on TV for its reputation of being haunted by ghosts.

Another very DC thing about the mansion is that it is currently sited less than a block from a park originally designed by and now memorializing Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

The home is listed with Lea Savas at Edge Realty RI. Photos by George Gray.

See other articles related to: dupont circle, history, house history, rhode island

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-dupont-circle-mansion-that-left-dc-for-rhode-island/18731.

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