The Vanderbilt mansion, Remnant of a golden age. Hyde park, N.Y

Hyde park is located about 2 hours North of  New York city, on route 9best known today for the campus of the Culinary institute of America and the home of president FDR.

The Vanderbilt mansion was built during America’s golden Age, 1896 to 1899 and was purchased 1895, as the spring and Fall home of Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt ( BTW the way Mrs. Vanderbilt was 12 years older than her husband) 🙂

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When it was purchased much  renovations was needed , it took 2 years to complete. During those 2 years they constructed a coach house which they occupied, ( don’t think they were roughing it, it had plenty or rooms and plenty of space and luxurious comfort). The mansion was built on an estate consisting of 600 acres overlooking the Hudson river.  today it stand on on 200 acres, the remainder of the property, the farm side was sold.   the mansion has 54 rooms in the classic beaux Arts style. All the furnishings are original to the house and are all European, French, Italian. The mansion was self sustaining having had a farm side where they grew and produced everything they needed.

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of course the Vanderbilt family owned many mansions , New York City , The Breakers in and Marble house Newport Rhode island , the Biltmore is South Carolina , just  too many to list.

The Vanderbilt mansion was very modern with plumbing and forced hot air central heating, electric lighting was provided by an hydroelectric plant built right on the estate. It took another 10 years for the surrounding area to get electricity. Eventually the dumb waiter was converted into an elevator built by Otis Elevators in 1895.

Heres a little tidbit: Cornelius Vanderbilt the grandfather of Frederick was the builder of what became later to be the Staten island ferry in 1817, he was only 16 years old and used 100 dollars he received for his birthday to start a ferry service . The rest is a very long history for another blog. Needless to say Cornelius  accumulated what would become the largest family fortune  American had ever known.

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The Vanderbilt’ family build Grand central station, the Whitney Museum, New York central railroad system, Western Union.



Mrs Vanderbilt was a very big admirer of the chateaux de Versailles (who isn’t ) so she brought that decorating style to many of the rooms she occupied. Specially her bedroom and the ladies sitting room.

Surprisingly, the bathrooms where rather bland and functional.



These two busts represent the two seasons the family occupied the house, Spring and Fall.

These where the main bedrooms and some of the guest rooms. However the top floor  is closed to visitors, currently they are offices that were originally used to house president Roosevelt  body guards and secret service, because his house was too small to accommodate them.

The 1st basement was the kitchen, staff dining room and quarters. A second basement was the brain of the house, plumbing , electricity ,water, heating system etc.

When they died a lot of the staff inherited asum of money, since they had children.  Their butler of 39 years became a millionaire. The house and estate was left to a niece, who tried to sell it  for very little money in 1938 ( no one had money then, it was the time of the depression) so on the advice of FDR  the estate was donated to the federal government.

The Vanderbilt family history is interesting and I learned so much just by visiting and old mansion.

Photographing this house was a bit challenging, very dark, no flash allowed. Also all rooms cordoned off, so the rooms had to be viewed from the entrance of every room.  I hope you enjoy visiting  as much as I did. Have your been there? What did you think about it?

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