George W. Vanderbilt, heir of the vast Vanderbilt family fortune, first visited the Asheville area as a young man in 1888. He fell in love with the mountains and began construction of a country home, which he called Biltmore. He also bought 125,000 acres of forest land adjacent to the estate. Vanderbilt hired Frederick Law Olmstead, landscape architect of Central Park, to transform some of it into a garden. Olmstead proposed that most of the estate be farmed. The forest lands, under the management of Gifford Pinchot, became a model for scientific management. In the remaining years of his life, Vanderbilt spent much of his time in western North Carolina. His pursuit of beauty and excellence had an enduring influence on architecture, agriculture, and forestry.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:
- Biltmore Estate George Washington Vanderbilt II was born into money. His grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, amassed a huge railroad and shipping empire. His father, William Henry Vanderbilt, financed the […]
- All Souls Episcopal Church
George Vanderbilt established All Souls Episcopal Church in 1896 to serve the workers on his Biltmore Estate near Asheville. The church was the centerpiece of the village he […]
- Cradle of Forestry
In the early 20th century, the Appalachian forest was subjected to devastating large-scale commercial exploitation for the first time. At the same time, pioneering conservationists were […]
- Cradle of Forestry in America, 1997
Recipient of the Cradle of Forestry in America, receiving the Mountain Heritage award, 1997.
- Thomas Wolfe Thomas Wolfe was born to Julia and W.O. Wolfe in 1900. The youngest of eight children, he grew up living in the boardinghouse operated by his mother in Asheville, North Carolina. His […]