10 Best Old Mansions In America

What are the 10 best old mansions in America? Find out about the greatest homages to personal wealth built in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by some of the richest American families. They are big, bold, and kind of mind-blowing.

  1. The Biltmore. Located in the picturesque hills of North Carolina, this home was built at the end of the nineteenth century for the Vanderbilt family. It is nothing short of a 250 room, sixteenth century, French style castle. Biltmore is the largest of the 10 best old mansions in America.
  2. Hearst Castle in California. This was once the estate of William Randolph Hearst. Finished in 1947, the palatial main house, three guest houses, pools, gardens, and enchanted walkways were designed in an old Mediterranean style.
  3. Doris Duke's Shangri-La. This is one of the most unique old American mansions. Built in 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Shangri-La was inspired by the heiress' travels to the Near East, were she fell in love with Islamic art and architecture. The mansion is filled with a vast collection of Islamic art and boasts a 75 foot salt-water swimming pool.
  4. Kyuit for the Rockefeller's. Now a Hudson Valley landmark, this hilltop old American mansion was built for the richest man in America during his time, oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. Kyuit is a six-story home with an incredible art collection, terraced gardens, and a private collection of old American automobiles.
  5. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. What list of the 10 best old mansions in America is complete without the behemoth homes of past U.S. presidents. Monticello was finished at the start of the nineteenth century. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia it includes not only an impressive home, but beautiful gardens and slave quarters.
  6. The Breakers.  The Breakers was one of the most impressive Newport mansions. Like Biltmore, this old mansion was a Vanderbilt home. It includes 70 lavish rooms. Style and architecture were inspired by sixteenth century Italian palaces.
  7. The San Francisco Plantation. Built by Edmond Bozonier Marmillion, who unlike the other owners of the best old mansions in America, was in debt for a large part of his life. The San Francisco Plantation was an impressive home for it's time. It had hand-painted ceilings and faux marble throughout. The home is now a Louisiana landmark.
  8. Vizcaya. This old mansion was built in 1916 by James Deering, an agricultural industrialist. It sits on the bay in Miami, Florida. Vizcaya was inspired by old Italian estates. The 34 rooms are decorated with fifteenth through nineteenth century antiques.
  9. Arlington House. This was the home of Robert E. Lee. Today it is a national memorial, but at one point this Greek revival style mansion was the grand home of the famous Confederate general. It was built in 1803.
  10. Fair Lane. Built in 1915 in Dearborn, Michigan, Fair Lane is one of the 10 best old mansions in America and was the home of one of the most well-known historical figures, Henry Ford. Built in an English-gothic style it boasts 56 rooms and some of Ford's own personal cars.
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