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Newport, Rhode Island, winked into life in 1639 as a working town. It was crucial to shipping and seafaring before and well after the Revolutionary War, and it’s still home to the United States Naval War College. It didn’t remain the sole province of sailors, however. Around the mid-19th century, the well-heeled began fleeing the high-summer swelter of the cities to bask in the sea breezes and sapphire skies of Newport. The Gilded Age transformed the “cottage” into an ironic moniker applied to absurdly lavish million-dollar mansions that were occupied only 10 weeks a year.