Vanderbilt Mansion: A Grand Gilded Age Estate in Hyde Park, NY (2023)

October 20, 2022 October 20, 2022

Several generations of the Vanderbilt family – among the most wealthy American dynastiesduring the 19th and early 20th centuries – owned homes in the United States including the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina;the Breakers and Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island; and tony townhouses in New York City. The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York was a country estate that Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt enjoyed in spring and fall. It is situated along the east bank of the Hudson River and is designed to take advantage of outdoor pursuits.Today visitors can tour the Vanderbilt mansion as well as walk through the formal gardens, along woodland paths, and relax on the grassy lawn or along a riverside trail. My husband and I enjoyed our tour of the mansion as well as strolling the grounds to see the extensive gardens, a waterfall, and we appreciated the scenery while having a picnic lunch down along the bank of the Hudson River.

(Video) What is Vanderbilt's Hyde Park Mansion in New York?

Contents

The Vanderbilts in Hyde Park

Vanderbilt Mansion: A Grand Gilded Age Estate in Hyde Park, NY (1)

Frederick Vanderbilt (1856-1938) was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), the patriarch of the family and the creator of the vast Vanderbilt fortune. Built in the Beaux-Arts style in the 1890s, the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park has 54 rooms including several bedrooms each with its own bathroom – a new-fangled idea in the 1890s. Upon entering the mansion, there is a large elliptical first floor foyer off of which are several spaces including Frederick’s den and office along with the massive living room and the dining room – each taking up an entire wing of the first floor. The second and third floors housed bedrooms for Frederick and his wife Louise as well as their guests and some staff members. Originally over 600 acres, the Vanderbilt grounds now total about 200 acres and include formal gardens, several trails, and bridges over the Crum Elbow Creek.

(Video) Hyde Park, New York - Tour of Franklin D. Roosevelt & Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Sites

This was the Gilded Age era in America when folks of “new money” status (such as the Vanderbilts) flaunted their wealth by building sometimes ostentatious homes. Although Frederick and Louise used this home a short time period each year, after Louise died in 1926, Frederick sold his other properties and resided here for the remaining 12 years of his life. When he died, he was worth over $1 billion in today’s dollars. Since Frederick and Louise didn’t have children, Louise’s niece inherited the property who later donated the home, its furnishings and about 200 acres of property to the National Park Service. The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site opened to the public in 1940 – a surviving symbol of the Gilded Age in America.

Vanderbilt Mansion: A Grand Gilded Age Estate in Hyde Park, NY (2)

Admission

  • $10 per adult (at the time of publication)
  • Credit card payment is the only form of payment accepted.
  • Since this is a National Park Service property, you can present your NPS America the Beautiful Pass and get in at no charge.
  • No admission fee is charged for children 15 years old and younger.
  • The grounds and gardens are free and open every day from sunrise to sunset.
  • There’s ample free parking onsite.

What You’ll Find at the Vanderbilt Mansion

  • An opulent Gilded Age mansion built by a descendent of Cornelius Vanderbilt as a country house, used mostly in the spring and fall.
  • Over 200 acres of the original estate that is managed by the National Park Service.
  • Extensive plantings of trees and other plants made by the Vanderbilts over a century ago as well as some of the previous landowners.
  • Formal gardens that include annuals, perennials, and roses.
  • Trails from the mansion through the woods down to the river. The property’s trails run along the Hudson River and connect with the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site to the south.
Vanderbilt Mansion: A Grand Gilded Age Estate in Hyde Park, NY (3)

Tips for Your Visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion

  • Check for days and hours that tours are offered. At the time of this publication, tours were offered Thursday through Monday.
  • Tours of the mansion last about 45 minutes and include the first floor, second floor, and basement.
  • Mansion tours leave from The Pavilion, a building to the right of the mansion. The Vanderbilts built and lived in the Pavilion while construction was occurring on the mansion. The entire building process of the mansion spanned about 24 months.
  • If you walk down the trail from the formal gardens through the woods or on the roadway on the property, you’ll head downhill to a gate (that’s most likely closed). There’ll be a building marked as private property on your right. At the gate, turn left and proceed a very short distance, with the stone wall on your right. You’ll be rewarded with a view of a beautiful waterfall.
  • When you are driving towards the exit after visiting the property, there’ll be a gate ahead of you near the exit. If it’s open (mostly Monday-Thursday), drive down about a half mile to a parking lot along the river bank. There are some picnic benches near the river’s edge. (My husband and I had a relaxing picnic lunch there and watched boats go by.)
  • The riverside Hyde Park Trail connects this property with the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site if visitors want to view these properties from a different vantage point — from the banks of the Hudson River.
  • The Vanderbilt Mansion is the setting for outdoor concerts in the summer. Many of them are free to the public. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy. (My husband and I keep our foldable lawn chairs in our car on road trips, and they came in handy on this one! You never know when an outdoor concert or picnic spot may lure you while exploring new places.)
Vanderbilt Mansion: A Grand Gilded Age Estate in Hyde Park, NY (4)

Commentary: Wealth in the 19th Century

My husband and trusty travel buddy, Pop, wrote this commentary to add context to the time period represented by the Vanderbilts:

The Vanderbilts lived during what is popularly called the Gilded Age – in the time of the “Robber Barons.” In today’s day and age, the Robber Barons of the mid to late-1800s are frequently viewed with disdain.However, they were instrumental in the rapid and broad-based development of the United States.

The Robber Barons

Who were the founding fathers of the Robber Barons? They were Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. As the first generation of industrial revolution technology first began to materialize, these trailblazers had the courage combined with the societal/governmental environment (unique to the U.S.) to bet everything over decades to transition these technologies from rare to commonplace:

(Video) Hyde Park, New York - Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site HD (2016)

  • Carnegie made steel the affordable successor to iron, thus making skyscrapers to automobiles practical;
  • J. P. Morgan provided the financing that made possible some of the above and much more (i.e., GE);
  • Rockefeller developed oil fields and refined that oil into kerosene that was primarily for household lighting and ultimately gasoline to propel everyday transportation; and
  • Vanderbilt made long-distance transportation affordable initially via regional ferry services in the New York region and ultimately rail transportation within the industrial core of the northeast United States.

Limits on Wealth Accumulation

As the 19th century transitioned to the 20th, these founding fathers of the Robber Barons had amassed incredible wealth.After a time, they came under the scrutiny of elected officials.Long story short, such changes to American society as income taxes and anti-monopolistic practices were put into law.This resulted in the Robber Barons having to make significant divestitures. These actions, in turn, expanded the equities markets of the United States, making them more readily accessible to the common would-be investor.Ultimately, the average citizen and pension funds would have the ability to become investors in the American dream.

The Robber Barons both advanced the development of the United States well ahead of any other country/region of the world and also facilitated the democratization of financial markets.

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Where to Stay

Looking for proximity to the Vanderbilt mansion and other inviting places just a short drive away? My husband and I enjoyed our stay at Journey Inn — and it’s right across the street from the Vanderbilt home.

Nearby Attractions

There’s a lot to take in and enjoy in the Middle Hudson River area near Hyde Park. Read my detailed guide of top sites to visit in the Dutchess County area of New York.

(Video) Ep.1: 660 Fifth: William K. Vanderbilt mansion

There’s a lot to explore in New York state. My husband and I really had fun on our visits to several other spots outside the Hudson River region. Check out my guides to:

  • Historical Sites in the New York Adirondack Mountains (including President Grant’s Cottage, Fort Ticonderoga, Fort William Henry, Saratoga Battlefield, John Brown’s Farm)
  • Lake Placid
  • Saratoga National Historical Park (Saratoga Battlefield)
  • Saratoga Springs

Final Thoughts

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park is a step back in time when wealthy industrialists and financiers flaunted their wealth and invested in multiple homes designed to impress their guests. After all, this home was actually used just a few months a year to enjoy outdoor activities. In fact, the Vanderbilts – and their wealthy contemporaries – rotated among their various properties depending on the time of year.

Taking a tour of this mansion and extensive grounds helps visitors understand the opulent lifestyle that the super-rich relished during the Gilded Age. Besides the guided tour of the mansion, walking (or jogging) the trails on the property is a scenic way to get some exercise, to view unique features of the property like the formal gardens, the waterfall, the abundance of trees planted, and the trail that takes you down to the banks of the Hudson River.

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Comments?

Please share your experiences and suggestions for other places to visit in the Hudson River area. Your ideas could be helpful to other travelers. Thanks! 🙂

(Video) Vanderbilt Mansion NHS Full Tour, sort of...

FAQs

Who owns the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park? ›

It is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Hyde Park, with classicism, balance, and ornamentation, is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture. NRHP reference No. The property, historically known as Hyde Park, was one of several homes owned by Frederick William Vanderbilt and his wife Louise Holmes Anthony.

Who lived in the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park? ›

Though members of elite, wealthy society, Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt lived graciously without spectacle. Hyde Park was a seasonal residence, one of a portfolio of homes the Vanderbilts owned in New York City, Bar Harbor, Newport, and the Adirondacks.

Does the Vanderbilt Mansion in NYC still exist? ›

Once the mansion was demolished, it was replaced by the Bergdorf Goodman department store.

What happened to the Vanderbilt Mansion? ›

Cornelius Vanderbilt II's wife Alice was forced to sell the home in 1926 due to large commercial development projects nearby. After it was demolished, a realty corporation in its place built the Bergdorf Goodman department store, which still stands there today.

Does anyone live in the Vanderbilt Mansion? ›

Though the family stopped living in the mansion in the 1950s, it is still owned and run as a tourist attraction by the fourth generation of Vanderbilt descendants.

Are any Vanderbilt mansions still standing? ›

The Vanderbilt summer estate in Hyde Park is one of America's premier examples of the country palaces built by wealthy industrialists during the Gilded Age. Frederick W. Vanderbilt lived in this Beaux Arts–style home from 1895 to 1938, and it is now a National Historic Site with 200 acres of National Park Service land.

What famous person lived in Hyde Park? ›

Hyde Park is a town in Dutchess County, New York, United States, bordering the Hudson River north of Poughkeepsie. Within the town are the hamlets of Hyde Park, East Park, Staatsburg, and Haviland. Hyde Park is known as the hometown of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States.

Why was the Vanderbilt Mansion torn down? ›

The mansion was torn down to make way for the church of high fashion—Bergdorf Goodman—and many of the treasures the house held were scattered across the city for ordinary New Yorkers to enjoy. The saga of one of America's great homes all started in the late 19th century.

How did the Vanderbilts lose their wealth? ›

It was the third generation who stopped growing the fortune: William's extensive philanthropy and spending left an estate reportedly worth the amount he had inherited in 1885 when his father died.

Are there any Gilded Age mansions left in New York City? ›

A few Gilded Age-era mansions—such as the Frick Collection and the Cooper Hewitt design museum—remain intact on the Upper East Side.

What happened to the gilded mansions of New York City? ›

The buildings, considered anachronistic, were demolished and replaced by skyscrapers. Today, they are home to retailers H&M, Godiva, and Juicy Couture, while Frick's art collection and mansion remain intact (including the secret bowling alley underground) on 70th Street and 5th Avenue.

What happened to The Gilded Age houses in New York? ›

Grand estates that once housed and entertained tycoons of steel, railroads, finance, and oil have since been transformed into cultural centers (see: the Park Avenue Armory, the Argentinian consulate, the Ukrainian Institute of America), museums (the Cooper Hewitt, the Jewish Museum, the Morgan Library), hotels (the ...

Is the Vanderbilt family still wealthy? ›

And it was roughly equivalent to 50 percent of the holdings of the U.S. Treasury at the time. This kind of wealth was unheard of back then. It made Vanderbilt one of America's richest men. But within just 50 years of Cornelius's death, the Vanderbilt family fortune was completely gone.

Who is the heir to the Vanderbilt fortune? ›

Anderson Cooper, who inherited less than $1.5 million from late mom Gloria Vanderbilt's estate after she died in 2019, revealed that he does not plan to leave his wealth to his son, Wyatt.

Are the houses in the Gilded Age real? ›

The production design team for The Gilded Age used a mix of sets, real mansions, and visual effects to re-create 1890s New York. To create the opulent Russell House, production designer Bob Shaw sampled details from period mansions like the Cooper Hewitt and the Lotos Club.

How many Vanderbilt mansions still exist? ›

Well, there are 5 in total that you can tour: The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island. Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina.

Which Vanderbilt was on the Titanic? ›

Alfred Vanderbilt, Yale College Class of 1889, might have considered himself to be a lucky man when he made the life-saving decision to cancel his trip on the Titanic — until, that is, he booked a ticket for a spring 1915 trip on the Lusitania.

Does Anderson Cooper own the Vanderbilt Mansion? ›

The owner of Biltmore Estate, William Vanderbilt Cecil, is a cousin "removed a time or two," Sims said. Bottom line: "Anderson Cooper does not have any ownership in, or get any special privileges at, Biltmore Estate," Sims said, "although we would love to have him visit."

Who owns the Vanderbilt mansions now? ›

The value of the part of the estate that is open to the public with 2,194 acres, the House, hotels, restaurants, and other buildings exceed $300 million. Who owns Biltmore Estate today? The estate is still family owned. George Vanderbilt's great grandson, Bill Cecil Jr, is current CEO of Biltmore Company.

What is the biggest abandoned mansion in the United States? ›

Lynnewood Hall is a 110-room Neoclassical Revival mansion in Elkins Park, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Vacant today, it was designed by architect Horace Trumbauer for industrialist Peter A. B. Widener and built between 1897 and 1900.

Who owns the Vanderbilt Mansion on 72nd Street? ›

The investors sold the property at 39 East 72nd Street to a buyer hidden behind an LLC, the New York Post reported. Ilan Bracha and Haim Binstock's B+B Capital teamed up with Daniel Minkowitz's Mink Development to buy the home for $19 million in 2014.

Why is the Hyde Park so famous? ›

What is Hyde Park famous for? Hyde Park is famous for being the largest park in the central park & the royal parks of London and for it's speaker's corner.

Is Hyde Park a rich neighborhood? ›

Insider tips. This culturally rich neighborhood is bookended by two of the city's most significant institutions — the University of Chicago to the west and the Museum of Science and Industry to the east.

Why is Hyde Park NY famous? ›

Primarily residential, Hyde Park was the birthplace and home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt; he and his wife, Eleanor, are buried there at his family estate (290 acres [117 hectares]), which has been a national historic site since 1944.

Was there a Vanderbilt that died on the Titanic? ›

They cancelled their trip on April 9, a week before the Titanic sank. Remaining on board, however, were the Vanderbilts' luggage and their servant, Edwin Wheeler, who died as a second-class passenger. Although the Vanderbilt family escaped maritime doom in 1912, their luck would soon change. Alfred G.

How long did the Vanderbilts Live At The Breakers? ›

Photo courtesy of the Preservation Society of Newport County. Cornelius Vanderbilt II only lived for four years after the house was built, dying of a stroke at age 55.

Who owns the Vanderbilt Marble House? ›

One of the earliest residential examples of Beaux-Arts architecture, the U-shaped mansion of four storeys sits on grounds of 4.4 acres with views behind over the cliffs to the Atlantic Ocean. Today, Marble House serves as a museum and is operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County....

How much did George Vanderbilt inherit from his father? ›

Vanderbilt. George W. Vanderbilt had inherited $2 million from his grandfather and received another million dollars on his 21st birthday from his father. Upon his father's death, he inherited $5 million more, as well as the income from a $5 million trust fund.

How many slaves did the Vanderbilts have? ›

The records span four centuries and document the lives of as many as 8 million enslaved Africans, their free and enslaved descendants, and the indigenous, European and Asian communities they lived alongside.

Who got Gloria Vanderbilt's money? ›

Vanderbilt's will said that her eldest son, Leopold “Stan” Stokowski, was to receive her Manhattan co-op, which is valued at $1.2 million, while “all the rest” of her estate — less than $1.5 million — would go to Cooper.

Why were The Gilded Age mansions abandoned? ›

In 1913, income tax was introduced, and 1916 brought on the modern estate tax. These new taxes seriously curtailed the previously unlimited funds from which many of the wealthiest families of the Gilded Age were drawing, which suddenly imposed limitations on how they could run their homes.

Who is the Russell family in The Gilded Age based on? ›

After all, the Academy Award-winning writer and director didn't need to look far for inspiration for Bertha Russell, one of the lead characters in his hit HBO show, “The Gilded Age.” The character is based on Alva Vanderbilt, the real-life socialite who revolved in Newport's highest circles (when she wasn't throwing ...

Which Mrs Astor is in The Gilded Age? ›

Julian Fellowes doesn't mask the true identity of Donna Murphy's character in The Gilded Age: Mrs. Astor was, indeed, a real person and the queen bee of New York society. Although other women had the same family name, there was only one who was considered the Mrs. Astor: Caroline Schermerhorn.

Did Gilded Age mansions have electricity? ›

The Dooleys not only had warmth on a cold February night, they also had light, both the reliable older form of gas light and the clean new source of illumination and power, electricity. Most country estates like Maymont in the late 19th century had their own gas generators.

What mansion was The Gilded Age filmed in? ›

“The Gilded Age” on HBO

This Julian Fellowes masterpiece was filmed at and features many Newport Mansion properties; The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Chateau-sur-Mer and Hunter House.

Who was richer Rockefeller or Vanderbilt? ›

Rockefeller atop the list of the richest Americans in history, followed by Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Jacob Astor. Bill Gates was the top living person, coming in fifth.

Who are the 3 wealthiest families in the US? ›

Family Matters
RankFamilyOrigin of Wealth
#1Walton FamilyWalmart
#2Koch FamilyKoch Industries
#3Mars FamilyMars Inc.
#4Cargill-MacMillan FamilyCargill Inc.
6 more rows
27 Mar 2021

How much would the Vanderbilts be worth today? ›

When Cornelius Vanderbilt (the Commodore) passed away in 1877, he left the majority of his fortune valued at $95,000,000 to his oldest son. In today's dollars, this fortune would be worth around $2.1 billion. He left smaller amounts to all of his other children.

Did Gloria Vanderbilt inherit money from her father? ›

The great-great granddaughter of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, at a young age she inherited what would be $35 million in today's funds. At her death it was widely reported that her sons, including news commentator Anderson Cooper, would not get an inheritance.

How much of the Vanderbilt fortune did Anderson Cooper inherit? ›

What is Anderson Cooper's net worth after his inheritance? Cooper's mother Gloria Vanderbilt died in June 2019 at 95 years old. She reportedly left him $1.5 million, and he claimed in his book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty that the entire Vanderbilt fortune had dwindled to almost nothing.

How much did Vanderbilt pay the family? ›

William's eldest son, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, received $5 million in the will, while his three younger sons—William Kissam Vanderbilt, Frederick William Vanderbilt, and George Washington Vanderbilt II—received $2 million apiece.

Does the Vanderbilt mansion still exist? ›

Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York

Frederick W. Vanderbilt lived in this Beaux Arts–style home from 1895 to 1938, and it is now a National Historic Site with 200 acres of National Park Service land.

What is the largest Gilded Age mansion in America? ›

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

Featuring landscaping by Frederick Law Olmsted, Biltmore Estate—which was also designed by Hunt—is undoubtedly the most grand Gilded Age mansion of them all. It's also the largest privately owned house in the United States.

Did Gilded Age mansions have indoor plumbing? ›

Those great bathroom suites of Gilded Age mansions were heaven to behold, but hell to maintain, and by the late 1880s, “open plumbing” was coming into vogue, with porcelain fixtures in full view.

Who owns the Vanderbilt Breakers mansion? ›

Frequently asked questions. Who owns the Breakers mansion in Newport RI? The former Vanderbilt summer estate is now owned by The Preservation Society of Newport County, who bought it in 1972 for only $365,000.

Who owns the mansion in the show Bel Air? ›

Fast-fashion CEO, 40, revealed as winning bidder of $141 million Bel Air mega-mansion 'The One' Richard Saghian, owner of the fast-fashion business Fashion Nova, has emerged as the winning bidder of the Los Angeles mansion known as “The One.”

Who owns the Hyde Park estate? ›

The Hyde Park Estate is owned by and cared for by the Church Commissioners. The land is bounded by Sussex Gardens in the south-west, Edgware Road to the east and Bayswater Road, which runs along the northern edge of Hyde Park, to the south, sitting between Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch.

Why did the Vanderbilts go broke? ›

It was the third generation who stopped growing the fortune: William's extensive philanthropy and spending left an estate reportedly worth the amount he had inherited in 1885 when his father died.

How much is the Vanderbilt family worth? ›

Cornelius Vanderbilt, also known as “The Commodore,” has about 100 million dollars of fortune throughout his life. In today's value, that will be around 2.5 billion dollars.

Do the houses in The Gilded Age still exist? ›

The palatial and ornate Manhattan homes depicted on the hit HBO series 'The Gilded Age' once existed, but have almost all been demolished.

What celebrities live in Bel Aire? ›

Here are some of the Hollywood elite that have been known to live or currently live in a Bel-Air property.
  • Jennifer Lopez. ...
  • Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. ...
  • Beyonce and Jay-Z. ...
  • Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Burt Reynolds, and Sonny and Cher. ...
  • Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Ben Affleck, and David and Victoria Beckham.
14 Sept 2022

Does Jennifer Lopez live in Bel Air? ›

After searching for a new home for their blended family, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have decided to just move into a place JLo already owns. According to a report from TMZ, sources revealed the couple has decided to live in the pop star's Bel-Air home, which she's owned since 2016.

Who bought the biggest house in Bel Air? ›

The buyer of the Bel-Air mega mansion dubbed 'The One' has been revealed to be none other than Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian days after the estate sold well below its asking price at auction.

How many properties does Hyde Housing have? ›

50,000 properties

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