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A real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ in Newport, Rhode Island

NEWPORT, R.I. — As fans soak-up the last season of mega-hit “Downton Abbey,” they can find a similar “upstairs-downstairs” drama o...

NEWPORT, R.I. -- As fans soak-up the last season of mega-hit "Downton Abbey," they can find a similar "upstairs-downstairs" drama on this side of the pond.

A real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ in Newport, Rhode Island

A traditional tour of The Elms, an extravagant home from the Gilded Age, is complemented by this "behind-the-scenes" look, which begins at a side entryway.

"O'Brien and Thomas in 'Downton Abbey': this is where it would all occur, right here," laughs tour guide Raymond Roy.

Inside, the "staff stairway" visitors climb up 80-plus stairs to an area hidden in the architecture of this magnificent home, modeled after a French chateau.

A real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ in Newport, Rhode Island

The servants lived in the third floor, which was hidden on the outside of the house by a tall parapet. In the early 1900s, many of the staff members came to Rhode Island from England or Ireland.

Sixteen sleeping rooms and three bathrooms -- for a mix of men and women -- feature oak paneled doors and precise moldings. Coal magnate Edward Berwind and his wife, Sarah, aimed to improve the living conditions for their valets and maids.

A real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ in Newport, Rhode Island

The third floor also features a unique call box with 48 squares to represent each room in the large structure. The device would alert staff when they were needed anywhere around the house.

"In the Gilded Age, entertaining was an art form and it was constant, so, it took an army of people to maintain the house which would always be filled with guests," says Carneiro.

A real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ in Newport, Rhode Island

"Way more interesting than the main part of the house, really," says Steve Paquette of Pelham, New Hampshire. "The back of the house is always more interesting to me: the mechanical side, the way the staff functioned, the way the house ran."

Two intersecting worlds. Close relationships. Loyalty and work.

"It was the staff that made that lifestyle possible," says Carneiro.

In Rhode Island, fiction becomes fact. The Servant Life Tour runs daily, all year long. Click here for times and prices.