The Newport area has hosted many cutting-edge scientific facilities, from the development of the torpedo on Goat Island to underwater tracking systems at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Middletown. Among the many private research centers is the Eppley Laboratory, which has operated continuously at 12 Sheffield Ave since 1917.
Capt. Marion Eppley (1883-1960) was a decorated U.S. Naval officer who was introduced to Newport by his socialite wife Ethelberta Pyne Russell, a member of the Lewis Morris and Moses Taylor families of Newport. Capt. Eppley developed energy storage cells during World War I and expanded research into solar measurement and thermal radiation instrumentation.
Eppley owned “Beacon Rock” in Newport Harbor form 1921-1951 and established the Eppley Foundation and the Eppley Wildlife Refuge in West Kingston, RI.
Above: Entrance to the “Beacon Rock” estate, circa 1900; Newport Harbor is visible in the background. Photo from the Newport Historical Society’s collections.