Fire investigators were combing the smoldering wreckage of the historic Stonor Lodge on Friday, after a massive blaze destroyed the once-magnificent estate.
The 9,000-square-foot Rhode Island mansion was undergoing renovations when the fire broke out, authorities said. Construction workers were on the site when flames erupted.
The grand home hosted Jacqueline Bouvier on the eve of her Newport society wedding to John F. Kennedy in 1953 and is located in the posh landscape of vacation estates frequented by the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts.
For generations, it was owned by the Drexel family. Nonie Drexel sold the house in 2012.
Reached in Scotland by NBC10-TV, Drexel said: "It's so sad to think that it's gone."
She never thought of it as a mansion, she said.
"It was a really fun, happy place. Honestly, it wasn't grand. Like, it rambled. You went from room to room to room," she said.
The property dates to 1870.
"It had been put together with so many additions. It would have been a nightmare for a home decorator, but for a child growing up, it had all these nooks and crannies. It was a magical place," Drexel said.