Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. Andrew Carnegie Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
Gallery: Millionaire's Row back 4 of  5 next

The Carnegie Mansion The Frick Mansion Mr's Astor's House The Vanderbilt Mansion The Metropolitan opera House

The Vanderbilt Chateau For two generations, the old Society families of New York snubbed the Vanderbilts. Alva Vanderbilt, the wife of Commodore Vanderbilt's son William, was determined to change that. She commissioned a mansion so grand that the bluebloods would have no choice but to accept her.

The Vanderbilt chateau at 52nd Street, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, represents the first influential grafting of European history on unseasoned American wealth. It was grand and gaudy, inspired by great mansions of 15th-century France. It literally dripped with Europe, instantly becoming the standard for the mansions of Fifth Avenue and the palatial homes of Newport. To some, however, it seemed a bit much. Critic Louis H. Sullivan called it "a contradiction, an absurdity, a characteristically New York absurdity."

The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline | Gallery | People & Events | Teacher's Guide