The Gilded Age of the United States, from the late 19th to early 20th century, saw the creation of numerous fortunes and the construction of elaborate mansions for the industrialists. The term “conspicuous consumption” is almost synonymous with the Gilded Age. The Vanderbilt family was, and is, well known for their numerous mansions, both those in New York City (most of which have been demolished) and several in Newport, Rhode Island, such as the Breakers and Marble House, both of which are now operated as historic house museums. One of the Vanderbilts went off on his own to build what became known as the largest private home in American—Biltmore, in the mountains of the southern state of North Carolina, far from the industrial centers of the northeast that built those fortunes. Today, Biltmore is another successful historic house museum. In Virginia, another industrialist picked the Blue Ridge Mountains as the location for his Gilded Age mansion, but Swannanoa is now falling into ruin. (Photo is in the public domain).
Swannanoa—deconstructing an American palace
By Sometimes Interesting
August 2, 2016