King Block, Newport Rhode Island

Date added: July 07, 2010 Categories: Rhode Island Commercial

While interesting as a very dignified and restrained solution to commercial building problems in the late 19th century, the King Block is particularly significant as one of four buildings that comprise a distinguished commercial street, the east side of Bellevue Avenue beginning at Memorial Boulevard and running south. The first building, the Travers Block, was also the first built, in 1870-1871, designed by the architect Richard Morris Hunt. The second building, physically the largest and historically the best known, is the Newport Casino, built 1880-1881, McKim, Mead, and White, architects. The King Block is the third building of the group, and the final one is the Audrain Building, built 1902-1903, Bruce Price, architect. The four buildings maintain a long street line, and are basically related in scale and massing, in their broken silhouettes and richly textured surfaces which provide, at the same time, a great variety and liveliness. Without matching, the buildings complement each other in a particularly urbane way, forming an ensemble which should be preserved.

There have been no visible exterior alterations to the building. The open storage space above nos. 206 and 214 has been converted into apartment-showrooms. The apartment above no. 206 is presently used for storage space. The apartment above no. 214 is used for a special private showroom and occasionally for sleeping space.

Over-all dimensions: 130 feet by 75 feet; rectangular plan; 6 bays with the two central bays slightly taller and stepped forward a few inches; 2 stories.

Floor plan: The floor plan of each shop is a long rectangle. Each shop has received different Interior treatments according to the needs of the tenants.