It's difficult to think that the Biltmore House was once a bachelor home with a billiards room and a bowling alley. The mansion has a total of 250 rooms. There are 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms, and three kitchens in all. That's more than 6,000 square feet of space alone that is empty now.
The Biltmore House was built between 1895 and 1920 by George Washington Vanderbilt II. He hired architect William Bell Riley to design his new home near Asheville, North Carolina. The house was named after its original owner who made his money in shipping and railroads.
Vanderbilt was a member of one of America's most famous families. His parents were Cornelius Vanderbilt, a wealthy New York railroad tycoon, and Elizabeth "Lily" Van Rensselaer Davidson. They had four other children who did not live past childhood: Alice, Margaret, Grace, and Louisa. George Washington Vanderbilt II was born on April 5, 1877. He was given the middle name of his father for being the first child, son, and heir of the family.
When George Washington Vanderbilt II died in 1919 at the age of 36, the Biltmore Estate was worth $40 million. This makes it the most expensive private residence in the world at the time.
The home has a total floor area of 4 acres. The Biltmore House includes 250 rooms, 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and three kitchens. The property had 30 miles of roads when the home was erected. The Biltmore Estate employs 1,500 people.
He hired architect William Van Alen to design the house. The house is located in Coral Gables, Florida. It is now a museum that is operated by the city as part of the Biltmore Hotel and Country Club.
The Biltmore House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. It is also a member of the American Institute of Architects' National Award-Winning lists for Architecture.
The Biltmore Estate is an independent country club community that includes two private clubs, one for men and one for women; a commercial center; and more than 7,000 feet of ocean beach. The men's club was founded in 1916 by George Washington Vanderbilt II. In addition to being a major employer in Coral Gables, the Biltmore Estate also provides nearly $70 million per year to support local schools and cultural organizations in Miami-Dade County.
Vanderbilt came up with the idea for the house after visiting Chatsworth House in England.
More inside photos may be seen here. The Biltmore features a lot of rooms and other amenities. There's an indoor winter garden, a double-lane bowling alley, a 70-by-40-foot "formal dining room" with a triple fireplace and a 7-story ceiling, and a library with 10,000 books out of a 25-k collection. The scope is incredible. There are also two tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a wooded mountain park.
The Biltmore was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, a wealthy American industrialist who took his name off of it. He had more than $4 million in cash when he died at the age of 41 in 1877. His wife's family called off the marriage because they could never agree on a bride for him so she got the house instead. She was a rich man too!
There have been many movies shot at the Biltmore Estate including Two for Texas (short subject) and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. The Biltmore also has been used as a set for various TV shows and films including Room & Board and The Good Wife. In addition, it has been reported that Steven Spielberg might use parts of the Biltmore Estate for one of his future movies.
The Biltmore Estate is now owned by another rich guy from America named Thomas H. Lee. He hasn't done anything with it yet but maybe someday if he gets married again he will build another mansion like his ancestor did.