Friday Photos

The Biltmore Estate: Home of George Vanderbilt

On our way back from Greensboro this spring, we stopped and toured the Biltmore Estate, home of George Vanderbilt, grandson of the railroad tycoon Cornelius Vandebilt. When I first started walking through this fabulous house, located in Asheville, North Carolina, the first thing I thought of was “What extravagance!” After all, with a grand staircase at least ten or fifteen feet wide, and a giant wrought-iron chandelier within its spiral hanging from fourty feet above, what else can you think. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jealous. I have a nice five-bedroom house on four acres in the country, but the square footage of the magnificant Biltmore castle equals 175,000 square feet. That’s equal to four acres! You can imagine my other thoughts. “Couldn’t the money been put to better use? How much house does one family need?”

Our tour began on the ground floor, where everything was big; big rooms, big halls, big stairs, a huge library, big windows, big everything. Working our way up everything became progressively smaller. When you got to the servants quarters on the fourth floor, two people could hardly walk side-by-side up the back stairs or down the halls. The bedrooms were just adequate, no more. And then it dawned on me; these bedrooms, halls, staircases, and even windows were larger than anything in my own home. How marvelous it must have been to have been a cook, or a chamber maid, or the butler in this place. From the fourth floor, the view was breathtaking. There was no lack of food, clothing, or shelter for anyone in the economy of this household. I am sure that the entire staff of this magnificent project benefitted from the wealth of the master of the house.

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(Psalm 84:10 ESV)

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2 ESV)

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV)

Be sure to check out all of the other Friday Photos at the Friday Photo Group on Flickr.

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