Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate is the largest private home ever built in the United States of America. Erected in the late 1880's by George W. Vanderbilt, the estate was originally 125,000 acres in size, was fully electrified with hot and cold running water. It had 250 rooms over an area of 175,000 ft2. If it were laid out flat on the ground, that area would be roughly four American football fields in size.* including 34 master bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, a bowling alley and a library consisting of 23,000 volumes.

The architect for the project was Richard Morris Hunt, who was originally hired to construct a small hunting lodge. It is hard to imagine the negotiations which transformed it into an endeavor of such magnitude. Famed pioneer of American landscape architecture Frederick Law Olmsted oversaw the design of the extensive and complex combination of naturalistic landscaping, forest, farmland and elaborate gardens.

Contractors labored for six years to produce the manse. Upon its completion, Vanderbilt filled its halls with works by John Singer Sargent, Pierre-Auguste Renior, James McNeill Whistler, and many other great masters.

Today, the efforts of Vanderbilt's son, William Vanderbilt Cecil have preserved the original beauty and grandeur of the house. It is open to visitors and offers an extraordinary opportunity for the public to interact with and experience such magnitude of wealth firsthand.

*Thanks SharQ. =)

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