When the mansion was completed in 1912, Nelson Aldrich felt that he had provided a fine setting for a dynasty. The focal point of Indian Oaks is this spectacular structure that sits on the high ground near the center of the estate. It is a very large 2½-story, hip-roofed building that would be at home in 17th century France. The architectural firm of Carrere and Hastings of New York was responsible for putting Aldrich’s ideas into reality. The construction of the building fell under the watchful eye of William Aldrich, an architect in his own right, who helped design and build most of the other buildings on the property.
The manor house is laid out in several sections. Its walls are made of hewn or squared stone, laid in a random pattern and the roof surfaces are covered with slate shingles. At the center is a five-bay main block with a short one-bay ell on each side. At each end of the center area there is a two-story wing that extends for another four bays. The entire structure is symmetrical.
From the spacious entrance hall that is Italian in mode extend two large wings. The north wing housed the servants quarters and working areas, while the south wing contained Aldrich’s private quarters. Window and door openings throughout are also symmetrically arranged. French doors with ornamental iron balconies take the place of windows on both stories of the main block.
The front door faces west and opens into a foyer and spacious receiving room with a vaulted painted ceiling gilded with fine gold. To the right are Aldrich’s large library (24’ x 44’) and his study. To the left were the kitchen, pantry and servants dining room. Along the east side of the house, facing beautiful Narragansett Bay, is the Great Terrace. Off the terrace were a 47’ x 27’ living room and a 47; x 26; dining room. Three of the six major rooms on the first floor have marble fireplaces.
To the left of the foyer is a large marble staircase that leads to the second floor. Here, there were six bedroom suites with individual sitting rooms and baths. Six of the 12 family rooms and three of the baths had fireplaces. On this second level there were also eight servants rooms and two baths. The servants rooms were approximately 9’6” x 13’6”, relatively small when compared to Mrs. Aldrich’s bedroom suite, which was 242; x 27”, plus bath and boudoir.
The third level contained nine guest rooms. Mrs. Aldrich’s maid room and nine rooms for servants. These rooms are similar to those on the second level but smaller. In addition, the house has a full basement, which contained the railed supply tunnel and the mansion’s central heating system.