Building an Empire: Restoring the Biltmore Estate

In the late 1800s, George W. Vanderbilt II opened a mansion outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Named Biltmore, this home was the largest ever built in the United States and was a marvel of Gilded Age architecture. But just a few decades later, the Biltmore was nearly empty and was about to be sold to the Vanderbilt family. With the help of Vanderbilt’s grandson William Cecil, the Biltmore was reborn in the 20th century and has since become one of America’s greatest historic attractions.

The Guild Age: Paving the Way to Biltmore Court

Launched in 1889, Biltmore was the vision of George Washington Vanderbilt II, the youngest of railroad magnates, William Henry Vanderbilt, and his wife Maria Luisa Kissam. When construction began on Biltmore, America reached the pinnacle of what historians now call the Gilded Age. This period lasted from the 1870s to the beginning of the 20th century. Named after Mark Twain’s novel “The Golden Age: A History Today”, this period coincided with the Second Industrial Revolution, and wealth grew rapidly in parts of the country. This increase in finance capital led to higher wages for skilled workers, and immigrants from all over the world soon poured into the United States to isolate themselves from the property of the developing country.

However, this influx of settlers also created a large wage gap as there were not enough jobs to support the number of people who came in for work. As a result, many citizens and immigrants lived in poverty, but the lucky few had accumulated seemingly endless wealth. This inequality, criticized by twain in his novels, exposed a society where the rich concealed the suffering of the masses with thin “gilded” or gilded plates. Despite serious socio-economic problems, money continued to accumulate among the lucky businessmen who became the heads of industry in the country. This gap between rich and poor will last until the beginning of the 20th century.

Gilded-era architecture and the Vanderbilt family

The wealthy families of the Guildido era often built elaborate and luxurious homes for themselves to show off their success, and the period was quickly recognized for its ostentatious mansions and mansions. Residences such as Oheka Castle on Long Island, New York, and Connie’s Estate in Greenwich, were the ultimate symbols of wealth at the time and became the envy of the masses.

However, these small estates were inferior to the works of the famous Vanderbilt family. Perhaps the most successful clan of the Gilded Age, the Vanderbilt family stood out at the end of the mansion (and estate) of the Vanderbilt Cornelius “Commodore” family who founded the family’s railroad empire, including the prominent New York Central Railroad. . York. .. Unlike the Kennedy family, the Vanderbilt family was a major American star and lived a life of luxury following the masses and media. Their home is no exception to the trend towards larger mansions, and the Everything You Need To Know About Visiting The Biltmore Estate has become one of seven different Vanderbilt mansions from the Gilded Age:

Townhouse – The main residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Townhouse (also known as Cornelius Vanderbilt II House) was located in Manhattan, New York City. The semi-detached house, the largest private home ever built in the Autonomous Community, was built in 1883 but was later demolished.

Woodley – Built by Margaret Louis Vanderbilt Shepherd in Scarborough, New York, Woodley was built between 1892-1895. Originally built as a private residence with 140 bedrooms, the residence now functions as the Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Marble House – Also located in Newport, Rhode Island, Marble House was built by William Kissam Vanderbilt as a summer “cottage” between 1888 and 1892. The 50-room mansion once commanded a staff of 36 servants, and the current construction costs are nearly $ 300 million.

Florum – The eighth largest home in the United States, the Florum is located in Madison, New Jersey. Built by Florence Adelvanderbild between 1893 and 1899 in an English Baroque style, the residence is now the focal point of Farley Dickinson College.

Rough Point – Originally created for Frederick William Vanderbilt, Rough Point (like many Vanderbilt mansions) sits on 10 acres in Newport, Rhode Island. Other Vanderbilt mansions were neglected for decades after the original owners moved, but Rough Point was inhabited until the 1990s and is now open as a museum.

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By Michael Caine

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