'Downton Abbey' success draws fans to mansions of Newport, RI, with focus on lives of servants

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NEWPORT, R.I. - If the Crawley family of "Downton Abbey" were American, they'd summer at Newport.

The wild stateside success of the British period drama about post-Edwardian aristocrats and their live-in help has piqued interest in the life of servants in the Gilded Age mansions of the seaside Rhode Island city.

Just as the Downton servants develop relationships downstairs, servants in Newport carried on a lively social scene of their own.

A tour about servants in one of Newport's most picturesque houses, The Elms, has become one of the city's most popular.

The American character portrayed on "Downton" by Shirley MacLaine has a home in Newport. The city is even mentioned on the show from time to time.

Geographic location: Newport, NEWPORT, R.I., Rhode Island

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