The Biltmore Estate: The Ultimate In Land Development
One of the most fascinating places in the southern U.S. is The Biltmore Estate in Ashville North Carolina. This is the grand estate of George Washington Vanderbilt II who live at the turn of the 19th centuy. The French Renaissance-style mansion, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, is called the Biltmore House. And what a house it is. It replicates the working the estates of Europe, as Vanderbilt envisioned. Vanderbilt set up scientific forestry programs, poultry farms, cattle farms, hog farms and a dairy. The estate included its own village and even a church.
Biltmore House is the largest privately owned home in the United States, at 175,000 square feet, situated on 4 acres of land. The house boasts 250 rooms, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, bowling alley, priceless art and antiques. It is owned today by The Biltmore Company, which is controlled by Vanderbilt's grandson, William A.V. Cecil. It is still considered a working estate. In 1963, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
An exciting addition to all the estate tours was the addition of the forth floor which opened to the public on July 1, 2005. The life of the maids and housekeeping staff of the Biltmore House is revealed with a peak at the servants' hall, bedrooms and bathrooms, and the three house closets. The Architectural Model Room showcases architect Richard Morris Hunt's 1889 model of Biltmore House. And there is a observatory right in the center of the upper house where one has a full view of the many gardens and forestry of the estate and beyond
The original estate took in 125,000 acres of beautiful forestland, but after Vanderbilt died in 1914, his widow wisely sold off most of the land to the US Government, and the land became Pisgah National Forest. The estate now includes a mere 8,000 acres of land and is separated by the French Board River. It is worth one's time to visit the Biltmore Estate website, as you will receive a great lesson in part of our American History