Constructed between 1902-1903, the Audrain Building is one of four buildings that form a distinguished central block within Newport (Travers Block, Newport Casino and King Block.) Completely renovated in 2014 to house some of the rarest cars on earth, the Audrain building now serves as a fine example of historic resurgence.
The Audrain Automobile Museum’s goal has always been to acquire and preserve automobiles with historical significance to Newport. Lacking a suitable stage, the Museum’s founding fathers took it upon themselves to find a proper home for some of Newport’s most important artifacts. Defunct and outdated, the historic Audrain Building symbolized a perfect storm: a home for the museum and an opportunity to restore and preserve a key piece of Newport history.
Designed by noted architect Bruce Price in 1903, the Audrain Building represents one of the four Gilded Age buildings that form an architecturally significant block on Bellevue Avenue. Price drew inspiration from the Florentine Renaissance to create an iconic two-story edifice defined by broad arched windows and a roofline distinguished by a white terra-cotta balustrade with lion sculptures. The first floor was originally designed to feature six retail shops and the second floor accommodated 11 offices. During the 20th century, a hurricane damaged the balustrade and lion sculptures, warranting their removal. By the early 21st century, the building was in desperate need of restoration.