The Regional Review

Volume V - No. 1

July, 1940

Vanderbilt Mansion Becomes National Historic Site

pictures from Vanderbilt Mansion Top, front of mansion; second, Louis XV salon; third, dining room, and fourth, Mrs. Vanderbilt's bedroom.

"A magnificent example of the type of great estate built by captains of industry in the era of expansion that succeeded the War Between the States; representative of an important phase of the economic, sociological, and cultural history of the United States."

That is the description applied by the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments to the 42-year-old Vanderbilt Mansion, near Hyde Park in Dutchess County, New York, which was designated this month as a national historic site and opened to the public as a unit of the National Park System. Once the home of the late Frederick W. Vanderbilt, the palatial residence, with dependent buildings and some 300 acres containing fine trees more than two centuries old, was given to the nation by Mrs. Margaret Louise Van Alen, a niece, as a memorial to her uncle.

The handsome mansion, designed and built in 1898 by McKim, Meade and White in Italian Renaissance style, is of fire-resistant reinforced concrete construction, and contains 17 rooms, 12 baths, and accommodations for 14 servants. Of prime importance are its superlative interiors, such as the Louis XV salon, the dining room, and other rooms containing mantels, which are masterpieces of Italian art, Venetian chairs, Medici tapestries, prized rugs, and many other valuable objects worthy of national custodianship. Dependencies include a large carriage house, two gatehouses of six to eight rooms each, an extensive greenhouse, a pavilion, and a boathouse and dock on the Hudson River. Title to the newest national historic site dates to the grant to Peter Fauconier, secretary to Lord Clarendon, royal governor of New York from 1702 to 1708.

Mrs. Dexter Cooper has entered on duty at the site as the first woman superintendent in the history of the Service.

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Date: 04-Jul-2002