|Gallery: Millionaire's Row
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Andrew Carnegie found "ostentatious living" profoundly distasteful and the conduct of most New York millionaires strictly irresponsible, yet he also believed "that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts.... Without wealth there can be no Maecenas." He resided on Millionaires' Row for over three decades, first in a brownstone adjoining the Vanderbilt chateau at 51st street, then in this four-story, sixty-four room mansion at 91st.
For decades Carnegie had insisted on the most technologically advanced equipment for his steel mills, and he demanded the same for his new home. The house was a marvel of modern technology. Outside air was brought in and heated or cooled to the desired temperature. In the sub-basement, a miner's cart carried coal along a railroad track from a massive bin to three large boilers. On a typical winter day, it took two tons of coal to heat the house.
If the basement's technology shouted Carnegie, the walls of his library-study did the same. Running around the walls of the room were the slogans that had inspired him throughout his life: "Let There Be Light," "The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within You," "The Gods Send Thread For The Web Begun," "All Is Well Since All Grows Better," and "Thine Own Reproach Alone Do Fear." It was here that Carnegie sat at his giant desk-so huge it had to be built in the room-and contemplated how best to dispose of his wealth. As biographer Joseph Frazier Wall wrote, "It was difficult to be other than noble in such a room."