The Biltmore Estate is one of the most iconic and impressive buildings in the United States. Located in Asheville, North Carolina, this magnificent estate was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II in the late 1800s. Vanderbilt was a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family, which made its fortune in the railroad industry. The Biltmore Estate is now a popular tourist attraction, drawing millions of visitors each year.
George Washington Vanderbilt II was born on November 14, 1862, in New York City. He was the youngest of eight children born to William Henry Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt family was one of the wealthiest families in America at the time, with their fortune primarily derived from the railroad industry. George's father, William, was one of the wealthiest men in America when he died in 1885.
In 1888, at the age of 26, George began building the Biltmore Estate on land he had purchased in Asheville, North Carolina. The estate was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, who was also responsible for the design of the Vanderbilt mansion in New York City. The Biltmore Estate was modeled after the chateaux of the Loire Valley in France and took six years to build. It features 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The estate also has a bowling alley, a swimming pool, a library with 10,000 volumes, and a banquet hall that can seat up to 64 guests.
After its completion in 1895, George moved into the Biltmore Estate with his wife, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, and their daughter, Cornelia. George was an avid art collector and used the estate to showcase his extensive collection. He also enjoyed horticulture and landscaping and employed a team of landscapers to design the gardens and grounds of the estate.
George Vanderbilt died in 1914 at the age of 51, leaving the Biltmore Estate to his wife and daughter. Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt continued to live at the estate until 1930 when they opened it to the public for tours. During World War II, the estate was used as a hospital for soldiers, and after the war, it was opened to the public again. In 1963, Cornelia Vanderbilt passed away, and the estate was transferred to the Biltmore Company, which is still owned by the Vanderbilt family today.
How much did George Vanderbilt pay for the Biltmore?
George Vanderbilt paid $5 million for the land that the Biltmore Estate sits on. The land, which is located in Asheville, North Carolina, was originally purchased by Vanderbilt in 1888. The cost of building the Biltmore Estate itself was estimated to be between $4 and $6 million, bringing the total cost of the project to between $9 and $11 million. Adjusting for inflation, this amount would be equivalent to hundreds of millions of dollars in today's currency. Despite the high cost of building and maintaining the estate, Vanderbilt was able to afford it due to his family's immense wealth, primarily derived from the railroad industry.
The Biltmore Estate was owned by George Washington Vanderbilt II, a member of the Vanderbilt family, who built the estate in the late 1800s. Today, the estate is owned by the Biltmore Company, which is still owned by the Vanderbilt family. The Biltmore Estate remains one of the most impressive and historic buildings in the United States and a testament to the Vanderbilt family's legacy.