From the 1850s to the early 20th century, wealthy families built elaborate mansions in Newport to be used for entertaining during the summer season. In 1907, liquor millionaire Edson Bradley built a French-Gothic mansion known as Aladdin’s Palace because of its size, on the south side of Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. It covered more than half a city block, and included rooms imported from France, a Gothic chapel with seating for 150, a large ballroom, an art gallery, and a 500-seat theater. Bradley decided to move his mansion to Newport, Rhode Island in February 1923. This move was so impressive it caught the attention of Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
At the age of 71, he began having his mansion dissembled and relocated to an already existing Elizabethan-revival mansion known as SeaView, built in 1885 and previously owned by James Kernochan. The new was incorporated in to the old building and took two years to finish the exterior. The interior was completed in 1928 and consisted of 17 rooms on the first floor, 25 on the second, 12 on the third, turrets, Chippendale chairs, wrought iron torcheres, exotic hanging lamps, stained-glass windows, and high arching doorways. SeaView Terrace cost $2,000,000 to complete.
Bradley’s wife passed away in 1929. Her funeral was held in the mansion’s chapel. Bradley, himself, spent five more summers at SeaView before his death in 1935. The couple’s daughter, Julia Bradley Shipman, took over ownership with her husband, the Right Reverend Herbert Shipman (protestant Episcopal bishop of New York and World War I army chaplain), until the 1930s. They vacated the mansion after the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, which caused severe damage to the roof and tower. During World War II, the U.S. Army used SeaView as officers’ quarters. In 1949, it was sold for $8,000 after Shipman failed to pay taxes on it.
A year later, it became an exclusive all-girl summer boarding school, renamed Burnham-by-the-Sea and owned/ran by Mr. and Mrs. George Waldo Emerson. It remained a boarding school for many years but the dilapidated condition of the mansion became a concern. Burnham-by-the-Sea gained notoriety after the Gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows chose the mansion as the exterior set for the fictional Collinwood Mansion. In 1974, Martin and Millicent Carey purchased the former school and immediately began the restoration process. Being one of the largest of the Newport mansions, the cost of the upkeep were rather large. The Carey’s leased the main house and gatehouse to the Salve Regina University (renamed it Carey Mansion) and also used the former stables as a dormitory, renaming it Seaview, and the music room, renamed Cecilia Hall, for performances and practice. Salve Regina’s lease expired in August 2009. Since then, the Carey’s daughter, Denise Carey, and her fiancé Christopher Bettencourt have continued the mansion’s restorations.
While 40,000 square feet of mansion tends to impress, it’s also becoming known for its resident ghosts or at least one in particular. It is believed Mrs. Bradley loved her home so much she continues to live there…after death. She has been seen playing her beloved Estey organ. Other witnesses have experienced hearing footsteps, banging, moving door handles, voices and dark shadows.
This estate has never had fences or walls protecting it from the public, only decorative hedges. This characteristic by no means gives anyone permission to trespass.