THE BILTMORE ESTATE

1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC

(800) 411-3812

Status: Heritage Building

Website

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History

George Washington Vanderbilt II found that he loved the Asheville area after repeated visits to his Mother. He decided to built his summer house in the area.

After buying up 700 parcels of land including farms and at least 5 cemeteries he began construction of the house in 1889. The project was so huge it required the construction of both a woodworking factory and a brick kiln on site. A 3 mile railway spur was also constructed to bring materials to the construction site.

The luxurious house and estate was opened on Christmas Eve of 1895.

Fairly quickly the financial burden of such a huge estate began to weigh on Vanderbilt. In 1914 he sold 84,000 acres to Federal Government to help with estate costs and pay the Income Tax. Vanderbilt would die in the same year leaving the property to his widow who lived in a set of apartments in the Bachelor’s Wing until her daughter got married.

In the 1930’s – to pay bills and at the request of the City of Asheville – the home was opened to tourism. The Estate was closed in World War II and some of the art work moved for protection against a possible east coast attack by Nazi Germany.

After the war the Estate was reopened as a tourist attraction again and ceased completely to be a family residence by the mid-1950’s.

The Estate is now owned by the Biltmore Company with Vanderbilt family members running it as the CEO. It now functions as a historical house museum and has about 1.4 million visitors every year.

 

Paranormal Activity

The apparition of George Washington Vanderbilt himself has been seen wandering his house but most often in the library. Edith, his wife, is also seen walking the halls and rooms of the mansion. It is surmised she is looking for her husband as the disembodied whisper of, “George”, is often heard

At night the phantom sounds of a party are often heard in the house from the grounds outside. In reality the house is completely empty.

The apparition of a headless orange cat is frequently seen although its unknown if any of the Vanderbilt’s had pets or where the cat came from.

The many staircases in the house are a paranormal hotspot. Many apparitions have been seen walking up and down them, phantom footsteps are heard walking on them, frequent cold spots have passed people on the stairs and people also report strange smells and distinct feelings of unease while on the stairs.

The phantom sounds of splashing and laughter is heard from the empty pool.