I had my "Biltmore Estate" experience again this trip. I was determined to fill my cup with everything The Biltmore could offer. My day started with meeting an old friend named Elise Israel. She now works (or plays) at the Biltmore old horse facility. (Sorry Elise, you just have too much fun there to call it work!) :-) Elise was kind enough to show me through the entire upper home
. I then decided to purchase a "Elise discounted" ticket for a "Behind the Scene" tour and an additional audio trip through the house. It's a new tour showing all that was needed to make this great place operate. We saw the electricity supply, the heating units, the water supply methods, and everything else that the servants dealt with. I found the subterranean trip fascinating. There were tunnels, wires, and old, creepy water lines running everywhere! Of course, the visitors had no idea what it took to make 255 rooms run like a Swiss clock. They were amazed at the 47 bathrooms and how the water took the "unwanted" and moved it somewhere unknown. You see, in 1895 there where no homes with inside plumbing. The concept had not caught on! The familiar "outhouse" was the simple answer and, back then, it was the norm. But George Washington Vanderbilt would not have it. He decided to build the biggest cave of all time and named it Biltmore. The word meant to put together in an open, more spacious method. And he did so with a tenacity that is still a marvel of modern day man! Unfortunately, they do not allow inside pictures, but the jest of the place is consumed with the idea of "extravagance"! Old George never worked a day in his life. He inherited a train load of money from his Daddy-literally. Their fortune was made first in shipping and then in railroads. His "honest days work" composed with looking the world over for treasures to fill the Casa. No one knows how much the home is worth
. I'm sure as soon as they calculate it, the worth is much more. Howard Hughes had that same nasty problem. (One I would loved to have tasted!)
The Builtmore Estate is the largest home in the US. There are four acres underneath this humble home with 8,000 acres that surround. This literally became the place where no man had ever gone. It was the empathy to luxurious living in that it helped create new, fresh ideas in central heating and cooling, a continuous supply of hot water at a touch, and many other new ideas in fetching more luxury without extending the body into anything that was considered "work" . George would not consider the normal ways. He always demanded excellence and I understand that he was a pretty good chap. He made sure the workers were safe and sound in performing their duties. Many wished to work for him. Only a few, considering the large task, ended up doing so. It now takes 1800 people to run Biltmore.
In the glorious end, George made a difference. It's something we all wish to do, but few accomplish the task. Thanks George! It was a wonderful experience! I would have loved to have reverse the favor and taken you for a wild, screaming ride on my Goldwing!
WIth respect to your grand, one man accomplishment, Well done!
It has been a contest since the cave man days. You dig a cave and I'll quickly make one bigger. I suppose the first two families were the Smith's and Jones's doing their thing somewhere underneath a tree and rock. The contest has continued with bigger rocks, bigger bricks creating much bigger dinning rooms that no one seemed to use. What's the idea here? Who would spend the majority of their time working out a hard living to provide rooms that were used maybe once a year? Under what shoulder and chip does one discover the urge to provide "bigger" and "better" anything that tends to collect tons of dust without us even knowing it?