The earliest origin of Vanderbilt Mansion dates back to 1764. In that year, Dr. John Bard purchased the land where the Vanderbilt Mansion currently sits. Bard built his home, known as Red House, near the eastern area of the overall property. Bard also created and maintained the agricultural significance of the land. From 1799 to 1821, the property was under the supervision of John’s son, Samuel.
The land stayed in the Bard family until 1828. That year, the president of the New York Horticultural Society, Dr. David Hosack, purchased the land and worked alongside Andre Parmentier to bring a new era to the land. Almost twenty years later, John Jacob Astor purchased the land as a gift to Dorothea, his daughter, and her family.
Dorothea Langdon’s family owned the property until May 1895, when Frederick W. and Louise Vanderbilt purchased it. The Vanderbilt family purchased the estate with the intent to use it as a vacation home, as it was along the Hudson River and was located in close proximity to their New York Central Railroad.
When Frederick passed away in 1938, the estate was granted to his niece, Margaret “Daisy” Van Alen. President Franklin D. Roosevelt neighbored the estate, and urged Van Alen to donate the property to the National Park Service. Two years after Vanderbilt’s death, Van Alen donated the estate to the National Park Service.
Preisdent Roosevelt used parts of the home for the Secret Service, staff, and friends throughout 1941 to 1943. Since then, Vanderbilt Mansion has been open to the public. Photo: NPS Photo
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