National Park Service
Hyde Park, NY 12538
(845) 229-9115 Park Headquarters • 229-7770 Vanderbilt Mansion• 486-1966 Groups

Places Nearby:
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
Young-Morse Historic Site
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Many of the super wealthy of the 19th century built enormous dwellings and lavished them with the finest furnishings imported from all over the world. Frederick Vanderbilt was one such man, and his mansion in Hyde Park stands among the most beautiful.

The Vanderbilt family history and the fortunes they made are mind-boggling. Entrepreneurs at the height of the Industrial Revolution, the elder Vanderbilts, Cornelius "Commodore" and William Henry, were both the richest men in America in their time. Though he received the smaller share of his father's inheritance, Frederick, William's son, increased his worth seven-fold during his life, while his brothers frittered their great fortunes away. Still, Frederick maintained an opulent lifestyle, spending his time yachting, racing cars, or enjoying the social scene at Newport or Palm Beach, where he also had "houses." In fact his main residence was on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. The 50-room mansion at Hyde Park was a getaway where the Vanderbilts spent several weeks each year. The rest of the time a staff of 60 caretakers maintained the 600-acre estate. Today visitors can tour the Vanderbilt Mansion and have a glimpse of pure luxury 100 years ago.

Modern for its day, the Mansion was supported by steel and concrete beneath the limestone facing, and was enhanced by central heating, plumbing and power supplied by a hydroelectric plant on the estate.

Inside, the furnishings and decorations cost more than double the cost of the house itself. Such notable designers, decorators and craftsman as Stanford White, Georges Glaenzer, Paul Sormani and others contributed their talents to creating one of most beautiful dwellings ever. The Entrance Hall, the Parlor, the Dining Room, Frederick's Bedroom and the Gold room are each a work of art, as are the other rooms.

Visitors can tour the grounds, as well as the house. Trails winding through the estate pass the Lower Gatehouse, Coach House, Power House, Pavilion and Visitor Center, and an Overlook with a beautiful Hudson River view. Coming into the property from the Main Gatehouse, visitors cross over the White Bridge, one of the first steel and concrete bridges in the country, spanning the creek just below the man-made Sherwood Pond. There is also a lovely Formal Garden.

Obviously there is historic value here, as well as aesthetic. Touring the estate one might realize that such a place will never be built again. It certainly leaves an impression, and it's nice to dream.

Hours: Tours given 10am - 4pm daily. Last tour begins at 4pm. Tours are limited in November - March. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Grounds open daily from dawn to dusk. Schedule is subject to change. Call to confirm before visiting or visit the official website linked above.
$10.00 per person
Children 15 and younger FREE
Grounds are FREE.
School Groups admitted FREE by obtaining a waiver from the National Park Service Headquarters at the above address.
Group Reservations: At least 8 weeks in advance. Note: during fall, visitation is very high; 14 week advance reservation is recommended for group visits in the fall.
Lunch: No facilities on premises. Many restaurants and fast food nearby.
Handicapped Access: Accessible.
Directions: I-87 North to exit 18, New Paltz. Rt. 299 East to Rt. 9W South to Mid-Hudson Bridge. Rt. 9 north approx. 5 miles. 2½ hours north of the George Washington Bridge.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.