The Construction of Biltmore House, Part 2
Written By Judy Ross
We continue a look into Biltmore’s photo archives to see more of the construction of Biltmore House. See part 1 here.
Above is a view of the East Elevation from the Vista, 1893
East Façade and Esplanade looking west, 1893
Bad weather caused problems and delays during construction. Subfreezing weather halted masonry work, as mortar would not set. Spring rains flooded the clay pits along the river, stopping the production of bricks.
Entrance Hall and Winter Garden looking south, 1893
The Winter Garden is the hub from which the rooms of the main floor radiate. It creates an “all weather” interior courtyard. Particularly in winter, the lush, subtropical plants provide a green, inviting refuge from the cold and sometimes snowy world beyond Biltmore House’s walls.
East Façade, Base of Staircase and Library Wing Looking West, 1894
Stone carvers typically finished ornamental work after rough stone had been set in the wall. The workman standing on the plinth on the Stair Tower provides a sense of scale.
Biltmore House looking southwest, March 10, 1894
After more than four years of construction, the outline of Biltmore House is apparent. In the foreground, the lower story of the Porte Cochere’s tower nears completion along with the curving interior wall of the Stable Courtyard. Note the scaffolding on the Porte Cochere’s dormers where carved ornament is being finished. The steel trusses will support the roof’s slates and copper ornament when completed. In the distance, the South Terrace (with Pergola below) appears finished.
Stable Complex, 1894
East Façade looking west, 1894
This photo reveals considerable activity on the Esplanade, perhaps due to the deadline for finishing Biltmore House by the end of the following year. The Library and the Bachelors’ Wing appear nearly complete, but much work still needs to be done on the Main Entrance, Grand Staircase, and the main roof running down the center of the structure.
Construction on the east elevation of Biltmore House, including Staircase Tower, 1894
East Façade looking west, December 15, 1894
Biltmore House is nearing completion. The left side of the Esplanade has been cleared and graded, and excavation of the central fountain has begun. The stone carvers remain busy, however, finishing the ornamentation on the exterior walls of the Grand Staircase.