The American Royals

Most of us wouldn’t mind a little more floor space. But we’re guessing that even your wildest Zillow dream house isn’t 175,000 square feet. That’s the size of the Biltmore House, a real American castle built by a Vanderbilt heir and nestled in the verdant mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

Construction began in 1889, and ultimately Biltmore House would contain four acres of floor space and 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, three kitchens, 65 fireplaces, a bowling alley, and a swimming pool. It was the largest privately owned residence in the United States—and that’s not even counting the 125,000 acres of land on which it sat.

The history of the property includes many fascinating stories, including the owner’s sustainable land use practices (far ahead of his time) and the artwork that was hidden in the house by the National Gallery of Art during World War II. For a full account of Biltmore House and the family that lived there, check out our Instaread on The Last Castle

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