The Railroad and Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore Ashville North Carolina

There are many great mansions in the United States of America.  One of the greatest mansions is Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina.  Built by George Washington Vanderbilt III between 1889 and 1895, it is the largest privately owned house in the United States.  When George passed away in 1914, his family continued to live there until 1930 when the mansion was opened for public tours for the first time.  With its gardens, two high-end hotels, and Antler Hill Village and Winery, Biltmore is a major attraction, and today the estate welcomes more that 1.5 million guests each year.

Now some of you are saying, “Wow!  That is a cool thing.  The Biltmore mansion is so amazing.  It is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but there is one big problem.  Biltmore has no railroads.  Because there are no railroads here and the fact that this place has nothing to do with railroads, I have absolutely no interest in this place.  You will not be seeing me here.”

You are right to say that there are no railroads here.  To say that Biltmore has nothing to do with railroads is not correct.

As mentioned, the mansion was built by George Washington Vanderbilt III between 1889 and 1895.  Mr. Vanderbilt’s family was in the railroad and shipping business.  Some of the construction workers who worked on the mansion stayed in nearby Biltmore Village.  (Biltmore Village remains today, and you can visit the village without visiting the estate.)  With the village being two miles from the estate, Vanderbilt had to get the workers from the village to the estate.  It would take over an hour to walk between the two places, and they would be too tired to work.  The horse and carriage could help, but they would need numerous carriages to transport the workers.  What would be the best way to get the workers between the village and the estate?  A railroad existed that went through Asheville, and a depot in Biltmore Village existed.  Mr. Vanderbilt built a private rail spur from the depot to what is now the front lawn of Biltmore House to transport workers and supplies.  Every morning, the workers boarded the train in the village, and they rode to the estate.  When the work was over for the day, the rode the train back to the village.  Sadly, when the mansion was completed, the railroad was no longer needed, and the tracks were taken up.

There you have it.  The railroad was a big help to build the largest and one of the most expensive houses in the United States of America.  Therefore, a railroad fan has a great reason to visit this world class site.

Biltmore is located in Asheville, North Carolina.  The property is very large so you will need plenty of time to visit this place.  Along with the Biltmore House, which will take you hours to explore there is also the gardens and Antler Village.  If you need a place to stay, you can stay at the The Inn on Biltmore Estate or Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate both located on the property.  You can also visit the Biltmore Village which is just outside the entrance of the property, and with the old rail line passing through the village you may see a passing train.  Go to www.biltmore.com to see what visitor packages are available.

Biltmore, an amazing place made possible by the railroad.

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