George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House is a great monument to the American Gilead era.
George Washington Vanderbilt II, the son of William Henry Vanderbilt, visited the North Carolina Mountains at the age of 25. He fell in love with the highlands near Asheville and returned the following year with his mother, Maria Louisa Vanderbilt. Buying land for a country house. Maria Vanderbilt was looking for sources of mild weather and healing, and George was looking for “a place in the country.” Many people think of a country home as a small apartment that requires little care. When you are the grandson of the richest man in America and the grandson of a famous American entrepreneur, you can have great views. Young Vanderbilt wanted to create more of his own food – a model of sustainability. When George saw the desperate situation in most of the Apalchian forests, he wanted to create a plan for the stewardship of these lands. Famous landscape architect Frederick Low Olmsted and pioneering forest expert Gifford Pinchot developed model land with the help of. In Biltmore, in the Netherlands, he named the family “Bild”, the ancestral home of the Old World, and the Anglo-Saxon word “extra” in the countryside.
Biltmor’s 125,000 hectares of land became a pastoral model in the hands of Olmsted and Pinchot. Many locals worked hard to maintain these beautiful gardens, and a village was built on the property. Vanderbilt hired Richard Morris Hunt, a renowned architect, to design the buildings. Hunt and Biltmor traveled to Europe in search of inspiration and furniture. The village and the center, the Church of All Souls, the balconies, the shops and the dairy were conceived by the great Beau-Arts architect. For the church building, Hunt opted for a romantic gothic style. The village and the shops are like a small English village. For the residence of George Vanderbilt, he saw another impression – the Lowler Valley of France, which was a magnificent site for the 15th and 16th centuries. When building a Bachelor Millionaire House, Blaise, Chennon and Chamberboard became Hunt’s models. The Blaise Stage Tower will be the signature feature of the new home.
The house is four stories high and is made of soft Indiana limestone. The 250 rooms cover four hectares of land. Biltmor Estate was the first “smart home”; It had electricity, Edison light bulbs, fire alarms, plumbing, cooling and central heating. In 1895 a passenger elevator and a service elevator were installed by Otis Corporation. They were the first elevators in North Carolina and Asheville and are among the oldest used today. The Otis Corporation still maintains the elevators.
The foundation of the house is made of locally sourced stone and is hand-carved with three course scissors (square blocks). The stone was difficult to make, but it was basically an eclipse. For the main part of the house, Hunt chose Indiana limestone. It was invented by the Halloween Stone Company in Indiana and delivered in blocks. The stone was manufactured and built by James Sinkler and a New York company. Five thousand tons of limestone will be needed to fill the 287 railway vehicles. It can be very difficult to transport all the rocks because it is so far away, so high in the mountains. Your name is Vanderbilt, but it may not be so difficult to imagine a railroad, and George Vanderbilt did just that. The 3-mile railway was later used to transport assets from the property to the Asheville Trolley. Carpenters and stone masons earn an average of $ 3.50 a day. An army of 1,000 workers, working six days a week, built the house in six years, although the work would continue for a long time. It was a huge, intricate roof that covered everything. Today, visitors can take a “roof tour”. There are so many carved details and so many chimneys.
A.D. On Christmas Eve, 1895, George Vanderbilt welcomed his family and guests and officially opened the house. Christmas continues to be celebrated in Biltmore State. Every year the house is decorated for the season. With 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces, the hospitality was a masterpiece. The maintenance and operation of the house required an army of few servants. The ministers were on the fourth floor, and they were all paid “New York salaries” rather than the local rate.
Three years after the house was completed, George married Edith Stevenson Drazer, a descendant of Peter Stevens. Their son, Cornelius, was born in Biltmore. The family of three enjoyed many of their visitors. Guests at Biltmor can enjoy a variety of activities. There was an indoor swimming pool (without filtering system, so it only fills up when guests come in, and then it dries up until the next party), Bowling Lay, Billiard Room, Winter Paradise Concertorium and George Vanderbilt’s magnificent library.
From his youth on, George Vanderbilt had a Bible in the hands of Thomas Jefferson. At the age of 12, he wrote in a notebook and kept a list. A New York journalist spoke about it:
He was a book worm, a student. … And his love of books came from his own conscience, because he did not graduate from any college. [he actually graduated from Columbia University with high honors]And his education, though not neglected, did not go beyond the limits of formal high schools, although I now doubt, that he is one of the best readers in the country.
George can read eight languages. He read an average of 81 books a year. It had 23,000 books and the library contained less than half. The 10,000-volume library is an excellent place, 53 by 72 feet wide, 27 feet high. Books on topics such as history, art, architecture, landscape design, forest, nature, interior design, travel, literature, religion, philosophy, and foreign languages give you a sense of personal interest. On the roof of the library, “Aurora chariots” arrived in Asheville from the ballroom of the Palazzo Pisani in Giovanni Pellegrini, Venice, Italy. Carl Beatr, an Austrian-born sculptor, carved a wood mantle and andiron sculptures for the fireplace. The winding stairs go up to the attic; There are porches on either side of the room, connected by a hidden passage behind the chimney.
Biltmor House “American Downtown Abby” was created and is a fine monument to the Gilead-style lifestyle. Most of the houses are in the form of a large English estate. Winter Paradise, a large eight-sided one, was built on Victoria Street in the middle of the first floor of the house. The monastery displays the origins and sculpture of Carl Beater’s “Stealing Boy Boy”. Cornellia Vanderbilt and John Cecil ate their wedding breakfast in 1924 near the spring.
George, Edith, and Cornelius Vanderbilt could not be classified as “idle rich.” George, a young man, ran a family farm in New Dorp, on Staten Island. At an early age, he began to study the arts — arts, architecture, music, agriculture, horticulture, and literature. As he progressed on a number of subjects, George became interested in promoting literacy. As a young man, he gave the land to Columbia University Teachers College and the university medical school. One of New York’s first public library libraries was his invention and later became part of the New York Public Library. George’s vision for the betterment of the world is inspired by his academic life and is well-known in the shops and villages of Biltmore. He and Edith set up enterprises to educate and employ the local people, and he was always guided by his vision of creating a supportive community. Edith founded the “Biltmore Milk Moonlight School” in 1914 to teach illiterate staff on the property how to read. She founded the Biltmor School of Home Sciences to train professional housewives. The staff on the property were well-respected, generously compensated, and their children had a special Christmas party at the Biltmore House. Today, the property is still managed by his family, grandchildren George and Edith, and their children, still working on the model of grace established by their grandparents. With no one in the 250 rooms, Biltmore State receives thousands of visitors each year.
Bob Kirchman is an architect who lives with his wife, Pam, in Augusta County, Virginia. Teaches students studio art at the Augusta Christian Educators Homeschool Co-op.
This article was originally published in American magazine Essen.