Opulence is the main attraction at this Gilded-Age mansion. The Beaux Arts country retreat belonged to the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Inside Hyde Park, visitors stroll through 54 rooms of Read more...
Opulence is the main attraction at this Gilded-Age mansion. The Beaux Arts country retreat belonged to the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Inside Hyde Park, visitors stroll through 54 rooms of gorgeous woodwork, painted Venetian ceilings, and furnishings worthy of a brawl between Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Frederick William Vanderbilt purchased the property in 1895 when he was 39. He hired the renowned architecture firm McKim, Mead & White to design his new home. The site sits on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, about 90 miles north of New York City. The estate was near to the New York Central Railroad, where Frederick was the Director.
Friends thought of Frederick as modest and unassuming—although you wouldn’t guess it after seeing his house. The 55,000-square-foot mansion boasts 10 guest rooms and 14 bathrooms. Downstairs, Frederick and his wife entertained at a 30-person dining table. An antique carved ceiling determined the dining room’s exact size. Many of the original furnishings remain. There are 15th-century Flemish tapestries, Louis XVI tables, and Ming vases. Sixteenth-century fireplaces were brought from Italy. One bears the Medici family crest.
The couple entertained here regularly, but Frederick was the quiet sort. He was known to slip away from parties whenever possible. He spent time in his greenhouses and often entered flowers into local shows.
Frederick and his wife never had children, so the residence fell to his niece. On the advice of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she willed the estate to the National Park Service.
Today, the property is open year-round. There's an admission to enter the mansion, but you can wander the gardens for free. Check the daily schedule for guided tours.