The Biltmore Estate is a gilded age mansion. The largest privately owned home in the united states, and a monument to excess.
178,926 square feet.
And the grounds are huge too! 13 square miles today.
It's beautiful. Some of the best views of the Appalachian mountains I've ever seen. Magnificent gardens. An astounding collection of art and prints and furniture.
The tour was more than an hour long and barely covered even 1/4th of the house, much less the rest of the grounds.
It was also just propaganda. The estate is still privately held. They charge $100/head for entry. There were at least 500 people in the main grounds, but likely many many more.
Anyway, fuck the plutocrats and the aristocracy.
Nothing this overwhelmingly excessive should have ever been in private hands.
@steve it exists now. Reclaim it, give it to the people. Turn it in to an actual public space.
The fact that the working poor of Asheville didn't rise up and seize the place in the 30s ... I mean, there's probably a story there, at least.
@ajroach42 kinda like Versailles, it's really worth seeing SO LONG as it evokes this disgust and realization.
Even more uncomfortable for me than the physical/tour propaganda was the clear sense that everyone else (rounding error if not) on the tour was not at all having the "fuck greed and excess" reaction.
@ajroach42 I just did the tour last week as well and disagree with that sentiment. Being able to live in a country where you can do what you want with what's yours is ideal. A lot of the builders considered the house their magnum opus and many went on to do other great things. I heard that Vanderbilt paid for all of the many parcels. I don't know his whole story but the guy aspired to greatness, which is laudable, and helped a lot of folks. That might be why no one tried to steal the place.
@ajroach42 My family lived relatively close to that area when it was built and I think I remember some writings that my great great grandfather did on the Biltmore. They were not wealthy, but not starving either. Let me see if I can hunt those down.
@ajroach42 Ok, so I mis-remembered. My grandmother went to visit the Biltmore and wrote about it in 1959. She said her grandfather had talked about it and considered it “obscene”. Half because of the structure and half because of the owner. His uncles did fight for the Confederacy not that long before its construction. She did like the place and thought he would like seeing it too.
A social network for the 19A0s.