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The Gilded Age Mansions of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont

February 23 @ 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM


If there is one woman who symbolizes the Gilded Age more than any other, it’s the former Mrs. William Kissam Vanderbilt, Alva Belmont. While she grew up in a prominent upper-class family from Mobile, Alabama, Alva’s first marriage to the ultra-wealthy William Kissam Vanderbilt would help her quickly become a leader of New York Society, the highest level of social recognition and fame throughout the country. But equally impressive were the whimsical homes she had built, which epitomized the era’s unbridled extravagance. It’s time to explore Alva’s incredible estates and homes throughout the United States and France, and the stories of power found within their walls.

Join New York Adventure Club for a virtual exploration of the many luxurious homes built during the Gilded Age by Alva Belmont (1853-1933) through rare archival images, floor plans, and colorized postcards.

Led by historian Gary Lawrance, our virtual showcase of Alva’s incredible estates — some of which are still standing — will include: Idle Hour in Oakdale, New York — in 1878, Alva and her husband William Kissam commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a sprawling 110 mansion on a 900-acre country estate for her, her children, and first husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt.

The Petite Chateau in New York City — designed by famed Gilded Age architect Richard Morris Hunt and completed in 1882, this French style chateau forever broke the mold when it came to living in grandeur
Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island — Alva had Richard Morris Hunt design a marble palace in 1892 to outshine the mostly wooden shingle style summer cottages of old Newport, which once again dazzled New York Society and helped define Newport Society in the summer months.

A look at many more mansions, castles, and chateaux; including Beacon Towers in Sands Point, New York; Belcourt Castle in Newport, Rhode Island; Brookholt in Hempstead, New York; and her final homes in France on the Riviera, Paris, and in the countryside.


New York Adventure Club
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