Sea View Villa - Oceanfront Apartments, Middletown, RI

History

General Deas after the Civil War circa 1875
General Deas after the Civil War
circa 1875

      There are very few places in the world which can match the oceanfront views that Sea View Villa has to offer. In 1881, General Zachariah C. Deas hired John Dixon Johnston who was a principle associate of famed architect George Champlin Mason Sr. and built a mansion which would join the ranks of Newport’s most elite summer cottages of the time. General Deas was one of the highest ranking confederate generals serving with Robert E. Lee. He was also a part of the South’s elite aristocracy of high society who’s vast family wealth was made in the cotton industry. He also owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange after the Civil War ended and joined the Union League Club which was a bastion of northern politics at the time.

In 1897 the property was bought from General Deas’s widow Helen by multimillionaire Clara Sweet owner of The Sweet Ice Company whose headquarters were in Providence, Rhode Island, making it the Sweet family summer home.

General Deas in full Confederate uniform during the height of the Civil War
General Deas in full Confederate
uniform during the height of the
Civil War

After the 1938 hurricane Sea View Villa needed major renovations and was sold in 1945 to successful Newport business entrepreneur Tony Spiratos and his wife Mary who owned The Valet Cleaners of Newport a first rate dry cleaning company which catered to the vast US Navy Fleet which was stationed in Newport during World War II . The Spiratos family hosted many celebrity guests including President Eisenhower.

The Eisenhower White House Staff would frequent Sea View Villa often to relax during the Eisenhower Administration’s summers in Newport and they were always greeted with a lavish Clambake party at a fishing cabin that he had constructed on the rocky beach of the estate for such purposes of entertaining his guests with his tremendous cooking talents. His clambakes were legend and were once featured in National Geographic Magazine.

Author Tom Chamales who was a personal friend of Tony Spiratos frequented Sea View Villa often as it provided inspiration for writing his novels. One such novel which was written at Sea View Villa was "Never So Few” which became a movie in 1959 starring Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen.

In 2004 the next generation of the Spiratos family began to make major renovations to Sea View Villa and in 2006 the Spiratos family is proud to announce that Sea View Villa is now one of the most distinctive and spectacular addresses you can reside at in the world.


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