America’s largest house in 33 stunning photos

Built between 1889 and 1895, the Biltmore Mansion is considered one of America’s finest Gilded Age mansions.

There’s a real castle in the heart of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains called Biltmore Estate. Elegant and luxurious, it looks like it belongs in a French fairytale. But the story of this magnificent home, the largest privately owned home in the United States, is distinctly American.

Built in the late 19th century by George W. Vanderbilt, this sprawling mansion embodies the beauty and luxury of the Gilded Age. Not only is the house itself a stunning piece of architecture, but the surrounding grounds were landscaped by Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted.

Discover the story of this stately Gilded Age mansion, and virtually tour its grounds with the Biltmore Estate photos below.

33 stunning photos of the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in the United States

How George W. Vanderbilt fell in love with Asheville

The story of the Biltmore estate begins with the man who dreamed it up, George W. Vanderbilt. The grandson of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, who built his fortune as a shipping and railroad magnate, Vanderbilt fell in love with the landscape of Asheville, North Carolina.

“I came to this place and thought the prospect was better than anywhere else I had seen,” he declared after seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains for the first time while vacationing with his mother there.

In the 1880s, Vanderbilt set about building a large estate in Asheville. He slowly acquired 125,000 acres of land — 195 square miles — by purchasing about 700 parcels of land, including 50 farms, according to Citizen Times.

Vanderbilt then recruited two experts of the day: Richard Morris Hunt, an architect known for his French Beaux-Arts style, and Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous designer of New York City’s Central Park.

Building the Biltmore Estate

Vanderbilt knew he wanted a house in the style of an English mansion. Hunt created a design for the Biltmore Estate in 1889 and began work, while Olmsted advised Vanderbilt on its grounds in 1888.

Biltmore Estate Photos

Public domainThe Biltmore Estate is under construction. It took six years to build the Grand Palace. It is named after the Vanderbilt family’s home in Holland, “The Belt,” and for the wide open spaces, or moors, that surround it.

Olmsted Vanderbilt wrote: “The soil appears to be generally poor. The woods are miserable, with all the good trees repeatedly uprooted and only young trees remaining. The terrain is absolutely unsuitable for anything that may properly be called park scenery.” , according to the National Park Service.

But Olmsted offered his thoughts on the land, adding: “My advice is to make a little park that you look out on from your house, make a little recreational ground and gardens, cultivate your river beds chiefly and… keep and fatten your stock.” “With the aim of obtaining fertilizer and… turning the rest into forest.”

It took six years to build the house. Then, on Christmas Eve 1895, the grand estate was opened to Vanderbilt’s family and friends for the first time.

Inside The Grand Biltmore Estate

George Vanderbilt’s first guests were likely amazed by what they found at his new home, which Vanderbilt named after his family’s original homeland, “Bildt” in Holland, and by the expansive mountainous (swampy) landscape that surrounded it.

The Biltmore Estate had 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, 34 bedrooms, an indoor pool, a library containing 10,000 books, and priceless artwork and antiques in every corner.

According to the official website of the Biltmore Estate, Vanderbilt used his home to display many of the treasures he acquired while traveling abroad. These included stone fountains from the Renaissance, Chinese vases from the Ming Dynasty, and an 18th-century Italian painting called “Aurora’s Chariot” which was so large (64 feet long and 32 feet wide) that Hunt specially designed the house so that it would be large enough to accommodate it.

Vanderbilt also personally sponsored the expanded library, and was known at the time for his love of books.

“He was a bookworm and a student,” declared one New York journalist. “His love of books stemmed entirely from his own inner consciousness. He had not graduated from any college, and his education, though not negligent, did not go beyond the ordinary limits of the high schools, though I do not doubt now, that he is one of the best-read men in the country.”

Biltmore Estates Library

Public domainGeorge Vanderbilt was known as “one of the best-read men in the country” and his Biltmore estate contained a library of 10,000 books.

Life at the Biltmore House

At first, George Vanderbilt was the only person who enjoyed his books, art, and major possessions. The Biltmore Estate website notes that he was considered one of America’s most eligible bachelors until he proposed to his wife, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, in 1898. The two married and had a daughter, Cornelia, in 1900.

“A new star has risen at the famous Biltmore, and the wonderful mistress of this house is smiling at her first child, a little girl named Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt, and the world is sharing in her new happiness.” Spartanburg Journal Written after Cornelia’s birth.

For many years, the Biltmore Estates was a site of joy for Vanderbilt and his family. They hosted parties and had many notable guests, including Edith Wharton, Henry James, and John Singer Sargent. according to Vogue magazineWharton enjoyed the Biltmore Estate’s vast library, and wrote in letters about how she would wander its grounds under the “Ionian sky.”

But in 1914, tragedy struck. George Vanderbilt died suddenly after an emergency appendectomy at the age of 51. Encyclopedia Britannica Reports indicate that his wife sold 87,000 acres of the Biltmore Estate to the U.S. Forest Service, leading to a gradual reduction of the property that lasted until only 8,000 acres remained.

However, the Biltmore Estate remains a significant piece of property to this day.

Biltmore Real Estate Today

In 1930, the Biltmore Estate was opened to the public. It has become one of Asheville’s top tourist destinations ever since.

Biltmore Real Estate Today

Biltmore/FacebookThe Biltmore Estate has been open to the public since 1930 and is a popular tourist destination in North Carolina today.

As Explore Asheville notes, there’s much more to the Biltmore Estate than the house itself (although the house is certainly one of the main attractions). Visitors can also visit the estate’s gardens, trails, and Biltmore Winery, the most visited winery in the country.

Although the grounds are no longer as sprawling as they once were, there is certainly still a lot to explore. Visitors can ride horses, kayak in the nearby waters, and watch birds.

In the gallery above, you can explore the history and grounds of the Biltmore Estate, George W. Vanderbilt’s magnificent dream mansion.

After looking through these photos of the Biltmore Estate, discover the story of Hearst Castle, the sprawling mansion built by the 20th century’s biggest newspaper magnate. Or enjoy these beautiful photos of Boldt Castle, and learn the heartbreaking story behind its construction.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *