Throwback: Inside Vanderbilt Mansion

Last friday’s prompt from The Daily Post asked, “Which book would you read again and again?”

Oh, there are books that I love to re-read. But that is not what this post is about. The Daily Post prompt reminded me of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which brought to mind Pemberley Hall, the huge estate that Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the male protagonist in Pride and Prejudice, owns.  

Chatsworth House is Pemberley Hall in the Pride and Prejudice TV Series by BBC. Photo by Rob Bendall/Highfields

The thought of Pemberley Hall led to the memory of a visit to a house that may be as grand if not more. This mansion, however, is not in England, the setting of Pride and Prejudice, but in the state of New York in the United States.

Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park, New York; September 2012

I surmise, the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York was ran like Pemberley Hall with too many servants to count with one’s hands. Vanderbilt had 60 servants in its heyday. The two top positions are that of the Chef and Head Housekeeper.   

Hubby and I took a tour of the mansion which showed us the “upstairs” and “downstairs” concept way of life of the rich and their service people back in the days. For fun, the guide asked us to pick a card for role playing. I got Head Housekeeper! It’s the ultimate position aside from being the butler. The head housekeeper has all the keys to every room in the house.

The mansion is opulent as expected. It’s made of marble, elegantly furnished, and spacious. The lady of the house’s bedroom is modeled from that of Marie Antoinette.   



The tour was interesting. It’s amazing how the privileged lived their lives. It’s fascinating to read about it and see what remains of the grandeur. One thing though, I wouldn’t trade places with the people who worked for them. They were servants to the truest sense of the word.


4 thoughts on “Throwback: Inside Vanderbilt Mansion

  1. I visited a couple summers ago. Incredible what many could buy then. It is too bad the National Park Service does not have the funding to install climate controls. It was very warm the day we were there. Have you visited the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina? It is incredible, and survives close to intact with original furnishings. It was built by George Vanderbilt, I think a brother to the one who built this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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