The History of the Biltmore

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Megan Dinkins

The History of the Biltmore

By: Megan Dinkins

 

The cast of Good Morning Blythewood recently took a field trip to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. The students learned a lot of history about the origins of the Biltmore and how it came to be.

 

It all started when George Vanderbilt took his first trip to Asheville, North Carolina in 1887. He questioned whether he should build his country home here or not, but he traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1888 and decided to buy land to build what is now the Biltmore.

 

In 1889 the construction of the Biltmore began. It took six years to complete the home and its surrounding greenery. Vanderbilt eventually opened his home to his family and friends on Christmas Eve of 1895. The house contains six floors: the main floor, basement, sub-basement, and then the upper three floors. There are 250 rooms in the house that consist of 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, a library, a music room, salon, a billiard room, and more. There are over four acres of floor space. The Biltmore was also the first house to have a private elevator and refrigeration.

 

The Biltmore was the biggest private home in the country. In addition to the size, the house has amazing architecture. There are statues of people like Faun, Adonis, Venus, and Hamadryad. Most of the statues were bought from France and Italy in the late 1800s by Vanderbilt himself.

 

In 1900, the construction of the Main Dairy and Horse Barn began. This was the agricultural heart of the estate.  

 

Sadly, in 1914, Vanderbilt passed away at the age of 51. He sold over 87,000 acres of the estate to the United States Forest Service for less than $5 an acre.

 

The Biltmore has always been an image of rich country life. Today, the Biltmore has an average of 1.4 million visitors per year.

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