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Architecture & Heritage: Salve's Seven Estates

A guide to the architecture and history of Salve Regina's most notable buildings.

Campus Preservation of Salve Regina University

Salve Regina's 80-acre campus bordering the famed Cliff Walk exemplifies significant developments in the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of 19th- and early 20th-century America. The university continues to act as a steward of this heritage and is actively engaged in preserving the splendor of its Gilded Age properties, while also adapting them for educational use.

Campus Heritage Preservation Plan

In 2002, Salve Regina became the first New England institution to receive a Getty Grant Program award to develop a campus heritage preservation plan.

A comprehensive "living" system, the preservation plan supports Salve Regina's continuing efforts to identify, assess, and plan for the preservation and adaptive reuse of the university's historically significant campus buildings and landscapes.

The preservation plan includes a detailed review of 21 historically significant buildings representing seven contiguous 19th-century estates that distinguish Salve Regina's historic campus. Also included are full existing conditions reports, restorative plans and, where appropriate, comprehensive recommendations and plans for adaptive reuse.

The preservation plan provides further structure and resources for the university's practice of utilizing its campus as an academic "living laboratory." It has also been integrated as an important component of Salve Regina's academic program in cultural and historic preservation, affording students countless opportunities for independent study.

Source: Campus preservation of Salve Regina University 

Ochre Court at night

Ochre Court, pictured at night, serves as the university's central administration building. (Photo by Kindra Clineff)

Ochre Court, Salve Regina's central administration building, was commissioned by New York real estate magnate Ogden Goelet as his family's summer residence, Ochre Court (1888-1892) was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America's foremost architect of the late 19th century.

For the mansion's exterior, Hunt drew his inspiration from the late medieval period in French architecture, installing high roofs, turrets, whimsical gargoyles and tall chimneys. Inside, he used details from French Gothic chateaux and churches to create a soaring great hall, impressive ground floor reception rooms and private upstairs family rooms designed with imported antique fireplaces and lavish wall coverings.

Source: Campus buildings of Salve Regina University 

Visit the university's website to discover more details about the campus buildings of Salve Regina. 

Local and university history resources

Property Photographs

Salve’s first buildings were part of the following Newport estates: AlthorpeChateau-sur-MerFairlawnOchre CourtVinland, Wakehurst, and the William Watts Sherman House. In some cases, the names of these buildings have been changed to better reflect Salve’s heritage. Browse the collection of the university's property and architecture. Use the "search within" feature to narrow the results for a specific property, e.g. Wakehurst or Vinland. 

McKillop Library Archives

The Archives in McKillop Library contain a number of materials based on or associated with Salve properties including but not limited to receipts, letters, and photographs. If you are interested in viewing any of these materials, please contact Archivist Genna Duplisea at (preferred) or 401-341-2276. 
You can browse the digital repository of the university's Archives and Special Collections at Digital Commons @ Salve Regina.

Explore the research guide that provides an overview of the university's Archives and Special Collections, along with a wealth of related resources.