Biltmore Estate (House Tour)
Rivaling many shopping malls in size, the 178,926 square foot Biltmore Estate (the size of the average mall in the U.S. is a measly 56,000 sq. ft.) displays the peak of opulence and elegance that was enjoyed by the uber-rich of America's Guilded Age. Located in the mountains of western North Carolina outside the city of Asheville, the statistics that describe the estate boggle the mind...four acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms (at a time when most people were still using outhouses), 65 fireplaces, 3 kitchens, an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley, a dairy farm, a 250 acre wooded park, 5 pleasure gardens (including a Conservatory for exotic and tropical plants), 30 miles of roads, all surrounded by 125,000 acres (195 square miles) of pristine mountain forest.
Total cost: an estimated $10 million (In 2013 dollars: $270,000,000!!!!!)
Opened in 1895, the home was the residence of George Vanderbilt along with his wife Edith and daughter Cornelia until his death in 1914. Upon his death and according to his wishes Edith sold off 85,000 acres to the federal government to help establish Pisgah National Forest, one of the first in the eastern U.S. As the Great Depression intensified, costs of maintaining the estate began to strain the finances of the family so, in 1930, it was opened for tours to the public. The family continued to utilize the estate as a private home until 1956 when it officially became a museum. Today, the Biltmore Estate is still owned and operated by descendants of George Vanderbilt and has become one of the biggest visitor attractions in North Carolina. Understandably, the costs of maintaining the estate have continued to escalate and, accordingly, admission prices have risen to almost prohibitive levels for the average family. Despite the admission the chance to walk the halls of a home, the grandeur of which is hard to fathom even to this day, is an opportunity I highly recommend taking if you have the chance. In this album I take a self-guided tour of the grand old home which, I hope, will give just a taste of what you'll discover inside...ENJOY!!!