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10 Fast Facts About Biltmore

Written By Heather Angel

Posted 09/18/18

Updated 01/30/24

Estate History

Get to know George Vanderbilt’s magnificent 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, with this list of Biltmore facts.

Nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore House is the largest privately owned home in the United States and was the Gilded Age vision of George Washington Vanderbilt.

Portrait of George Washington Vanderbilt
Photograph of George Vanderbilt, a scholar, collector, and patron of the arts who came of age during America’s Gilded Age

10 Fast Facts About Biltmore Estate

  1. George Vanderbilt was born in 1862 in Staten Island, New York. He was the grandson of famed industrialist Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, who established the Vanderbilt family’s immense wealth during the mid-1800s through shipping and railroad monopolies.

  2. After visiting Asheville in 1888 with this mother, George Vanderbilt began the process of building his country home. Construction began in 1889 and Biltmore House was first opened to friends and family on Christmas Eve, 1895.

  3. Biltmore House was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt and is America’s Largest Home® spanning 175,000 square feet, which is more than four acres of floor space. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.

  4. Adjacent to Biltmore House are 75 acres of formal and informal gardens designed by renowned American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.

  5. George Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in Paris in 1898. Their only child, Cornelia Vanderbilt, was born in the Louis XV Room of Biltmore House in 1900. George passed away unexpectedly following an appendectomy in 1914, leaving the responsibility of managing and preserving of Biltmore Estate to his widow and young daughter.

  6. Biltmore was a pioneer in sustainable land use practices in 1895 and has long operated its farm and field-to-table program. Biltmore is also credited as the Birthplace of American Forestry. Today, Biltmore continues to honor George Vanderbilt’s legacy of preserving the land and protecting the environment through many ecological, recycling, and alternative energy programs.

  7. While the current acreage of Biltmore Estate is approximately 8,000 acres, the acreage during George Vanderbilt’s lifetime was approximately 125,000 acres and included property later sold to the federal government to create Pisgah National Forest, one of the first national forests east of the Mississippi.

  8. With 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain estate to discover. today’s guests enjoy Biltmore’s scenic backyard with outdoor activities like biking, carriage rides, hiking, horseback riding, and more. The private estate grounds feature over 22 miles of trails to explore.

  9. George Vanderbilt’s grandson, William A.V. Cecil, began planting grapevines in the early 1970s, paving the way for the establishment of Biltmore’s Winery in 1985. Today, our winery is an integral part of a Biltmore visit and is America’s most visited winery. Biltmore’s award-winning wines are available for purchase at estate shops, on biltmoreshop.com, and in select retailers nationwide.

  10. On exhibit inside Biltmore House is the Vanderbilt family’s original collection, art, furniture, and more. With an emphasis on preservation, it’s no surprise Biltmore prides itself on having an in-house conservation department.
View of Antler Hill Village with The Inn on Biltmore Estate on the hillside
View of Antler Hill Village with The Inn on Biltmore Estate on the hillside

A mission of preservation

Today, Biltmore is still family-owned and operated under George Vanderbilt’s mission of preservation through self-sufficiency – a philosophy embraced before the first stone was ever placed.

Over the years, Biltmore has grown to include Antler Hill Village & Winery, which includes Antler Hill Farm; overnight accommodations, including The Inn on Biltmore Estate–our Forbes Four-Star property, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, and our historic Cottages on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues; and a licensed products division.

Ready to learn more?

Since 1895, Biltmore has welcomed guests from all over the world to experience the splendor of George Vanderbilt’s visionary estate.

No matter the season, an 8,000-acre oasis awaits you. From historic gardens and grounds to outdoor adventure, behind-the-scenes tours, new exhibitions and events, distinctive retaurants, shopping, and an award-winning winery, there is something for everyone at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

Learn more about Biltmore by planning your visit.