Eisenhower House

Eisenhower HouseThe Eisenhower House is the perfect setting for weddings, clam bakes and corporate functions.  This stately mansion, built in 1873, commands breathtaking views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Once the summer White House of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, this beautiful property is owned by the State of Rhode Island.

Eisenhower House is a terrific place to enjoy an authentic New England clambake. Local seafood and other delicacies are cooked in seaweed-covered pits-right on our lawn. With ample parking and rolling lawns, Eisenhower House also hosts weddings, family events, casual celebrations, and corporate functions. From elegant dinners on the porch to an array of bouncy houses and waterslides on the lawn, Eisenhower House can accommodate your special event.

history

History

From its perch above Narragansett Bay, Eisenhower House has witnessed nearly 140 years of history. The house was erected ca. 1873 as the commandant's residence at Fort Adams, an important citadel that was built to protect the bay and Newport Harbor from naval invasion. Newport architects George C. Mason and Son designed a substantial house outside the walls of the fort, and General Henry Jackson Hunt was the first in a long line of military officers to live here. In 1958 and again in 1960, the commandant's residence welcomed its most famous occupant, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The President spent his first summer in Newport in September 1957, when he resided at the Naval War College. Eager to return, he settled into the Summer White House at the commandant's residence at Fort Adams in August 1958. In a letter to Col. Edythe P. Turner, the President wrote:

As you know, we are spending our second summer "vacation" in Newport. This year Mrs. Eisenhower and I have managed to achieve a little more isolation than formerly, and–despite the fact that I have already been called back to Washington twice–I have managed to keep paper work to a minimum. Of course there are always trouble spots that give me great concern, but I have become reconciled to the fact that in this job there is always a crisis of some kind or other. I am trying to get in as much golf (of a rather poor variety) as possible and in general charge my batteries for the months ahead. [DDE to EPT, 9/15/1958]

Certainly there were crises and trouble spots during President Eisenhower's vacations. In September 1957, he was contending with the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In September 1958, it was the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis. And in July 1960, it was Soviet interests in Cuba and Congo and a downed American patrol plane over the Barents Sea. But there was also time for golf at the Newport Country Club, movies and social calls, and visiting local attractions such as Colony House, Trinity Church, Touro Synagogue, and Washington Square.

President Eisenhower insisted that the demands on a President were no different during his summers in Newport, despite the "change of scenery." He said, "The White House office is wherever the President may happen to be." For the summers of 1958 and 1960, that happened to be the historic commandant's residence at Fort Adams, or as we call it now, Eisenhower House.

The United States Navy transferred Fort Adams and Eisenhower House to the State of Rhode Island in 1964 for use as a state park. Today Eisenhower House is a historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the property is the scene of many public and social events.

weddings

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a tent required for all events?

A tent is required for most events with more than 80 guests. The house is very popular for smaller parties and dinners. Fire code and room sizes limit the total number of people inside the house to 100, including staff.

May a ceremony be held on site, and is there a fee for that?

We do many ceremonies on site, and there is not a separate charge. The ceremony is included in the number of rental hours

It is possible to rent the house for a ceremony only?

The house is not typically rented for just a ceremony due to the fact that there is only one event per day. The full rental fee would have to be charged

May we rehearse prior to the wedding?

Usually a rehearsal is arranged the day prior to your wedding. There is no charge; however, we ask that you be flexible with time if there is another event scheduled for that day.

If we rent a tent, how would we use the house?

The house is often used for cocktails prior to going to the tent for the reception. There is a separate bride's changing room with restroom and groom's changing room with restroom on the second floor and three additional restrooms (women's, men's, and family) on the first floor. The carriage house has two additional restrooms.

Is there a working kitchen in the house?

TWhile we do have a kitchen in the house it is not licensed for catering. The kitchen may be used by the caterer for a staging area during the cocktail hour. No cooking is allowed in the kitchen.

Do you have specific caterers or tent companies that you use?

See our list of caterers and tent companies. We have worked with these vendors for many years, and they provide outstanding service. We have insurance certificates on file for all the caterers on our list. Other caterers and vendors may be approved by the Site Manager upon request.

Are we allowed to provide our own alcohol and may we do a cash bar?

Your caterer is licensed to provide and serve your alcohol. Some caterers allow you to purchase your own alcohol. In the event that they do, it must be transported to and from the property by them and served by them. We do not allow cash bars. The serving of alcohol is limited to five consecutive hours. Serving of alcohol is required to end one half-hour prior to the end of the event.

Is live music allowed?

Yes you may use a live band either in the house or under a tent. The music must end by 11 pm. All events must observe the City of Newport noise ordinance.

Are there any chairs and tables on site?

Yes, we have 10 54" round tables, 10 6' banquet tables, 12 30" round cocktail tables, and 80 white Chiavari chairs. Our tables and chairs can be used only in the house or on the porch.

Is the house air conditioned? Is it heated?

Yes. Eisenhower House is fully air-conditioned and heated. We are open for events throughout the year.

Are there changing rooms available for the bride and the groom?

Yes, we have a bride's changing room with restroom and a separate groom's changing room with restroom--both located on the second floor. The wedding party may access this 2.5 hours prior to your rental time. The use of the bride's room and the groom's room is limited to the wedding party and immediate family.

How many restrooms are available for the guests?

We have five restrooms available–three on the first floor of the house and two in the carriage house adjacent to the lawn area.

Is there a beach area available for the ceremony?

There is not a beach; however, we have a beautiful lawn overlooking Narragansett Bay for ceremonies. The sunset is amazing.

Can we have a clambake?

Yes, clambakes are popular for weddings as well as for other events.

Is there a specific time that we may rent the house?

We only do one event per day, so you may choose the time. The event must end by midnight, and the bar will be closed one half hour prior to the end of the event.

How can we view the property?

The house and grounds may be viewed by appointment, please contact Mallory Coelho at Mallory.Coelho@dem.ri.gov or 401-847-6740 or contact Bruce Thompson at 401-847-2400.

Location Information:

One Lincoln Drive
Fort Adams State Park
Newport, RI 02840

 

Contact Information:

Telephone: (401) 847.6740

Email: mallory.coelho@dem.ri.gov

Rates:

Eisenhower House Event Rates


 

Copyright © 2012 Property of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Parks & Recreation