Largest Home in the U.S.
Biltmore Estate - A site to see in North Carolina
Who Was George Vanderbilt?
George Vanderbilt III was the grandson of the Cornelius Vanderbilt, the industrialist tycoon.
As a boy, he loved to read books. In his teen age years, and throughout his life, he loved collecting books. He used part of his wealth for charity, including supporting many literacy initiaves.
Vanderbilt donated money to set up the first public libraries in the country, which eventually became part of the New York Public Library system. His legacy still exists in his home, called Biltmore, which houses his private collection of 23,000 volumes.
The Beauty of the Gardens
A Lavish Home
His estate, known as Biltmore exists today as a place to learn about art, architecture, horticulture, science and many oher subjects to learn about.
Biltmore, located in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, was built in the 1895, during the Gilded Age. The lavish home is the largest private residence in the United States with 250 rooms, 125,000 acres of grounds, managed forests, and park lands.
Within the home there is 4 acres of floor space, 34 bedrooms, 65 fireplaces, 43 bathrooms. There is a swimming pool, bowling alley, gymnasium, and several kitchens.
George Washington Vanderbilt had a vision to build a home that was beneficial to the surrounding area. Today it is a big tourist sight. The house was featured in movies like Forrest Gump, The Swan, Being There, The Last of the Mohicans and other such films.
Gardens at the Biltomore Estate
The Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore is Filled with Beautiful Architectural Details
The Biltmore was one of the first homes to ever use Thomas Edison’s light bulb.
While building the estate, an onsite brick factory and woodworking shop, and a railway to transport materials to the site were built on the property. Biltmore Village also was established, where the workers would live during the 6 years it took to build the estate.
Richard Morris was the architect who designed the home to look like a well known French chateau . Frederick Law Olmstead, the creator of Central Park in New York City handled the gardens. The Biltmore is filled with architectural details that illustrate the beauty and opulence of the time.
- More than a million people visit Biltmore every year.
- The home is 175,000 square feet, with 75 acres of landscaped gardens. .
- The original estate was 125,000 acre, but is now 8,000 acres..
- It took 6 years to build the estate.
- The vineyards take up 94 acres and they sell 170,000 cased of wine each year. .
- There are 250 rooms in the Biltmore Estate, with 35 bedrooms, and 43 bathrooms, 26 servant bedrooms, 65 fireplaces, 16 chimneys, 3 kitchens.
- The banquet hall ceiling is seven stories high. The banquet hall table seated 64 people and is 40’ long
- The library includes about 10,000 books.
- There are 185 paintings in the Biltmore art collection.
View of the Biltmore Esplanade
The Biltmore Family Still Owns the Estate
The Biltmore Estate Winery mixes tradition of wine making with technology.
Today, the estate produces 75,000 cases of wine each year in about 15 varieties. Visitors can enjoy tours of the house, the gardens, rooftop tours, behind the scene tours, winery, and other type of tours. In the gardens, there are still some plants that exist from the time Biltmore was created in 1895.
The Vanderbilt’s bought the town next to their estate in 1889, where their employess lived. They renamed the town Biltmore Village. In the late 19th, the employees homes, had more than most people or the time with central heating and plumbing. In 1889, the Vanderbilt’s also created the Biltmore Forest School, which was dedicated to the scientific forestry.
George Vanderbilt owned many homes, but The Biltmore was his favorite.
In March 1914, George Vanderbilt died from appendicitis. His wife, Edith, sold 87,000 acres of land to the U.S. government, as per George’s desire to perserve the forest they owned. No one has lived in the house since the 1950’s.
The Vanderbilt family still owns the estate. Cornelia, the only child of Edith and George Vanderbilt had 2 sons, who still manage the estate and surrounding area.
The Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil opened the Biltmore Estate to the public in the i930’s to help spur tourism and generate revenue to keep the estate going during the time of the depression.
Biltmore Estate is located in Ashevile, North Carolina. If you are going to visit the estate, there is so much to do in the area, you might need 2 days.