When American businesses finally began to eclipse the success of their European counterparts, the robber barons took to real estate to show off their massive wealth, building meticulously detailed mansions as a testament to their fortunes.
Baron Walter Von Richthofen, uncle of the famed flying ace “The Red Baron,” built this Denver mansion in 1887, in homage to his ancestral home, on 335 acres. Today, the acreage has been cut down to just one gated acre, but the architectural majesty of the mansion remains. Measuring almost 15,000 square feet, the Castle (McMansion) has 35 rooms, including “drawing room, library, music alcove, servants quarters, butlers pantry, billiards room, Red Baron bar, eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms.” Listed as a National Landmark, the castle is on the market for $3.75 million.
Perhaps no one American town benefited more from the architectural arms race of the Gilded Age than Newport, where the like of the Astors and Vanderbilts constructed lavish Summer home in the European style. This one, known as Fairholme, was built in 1875 to designs by Frank Furness and featured a ballroom by Horace Trumbauer. Fairholme was among the first of Newport’s great waterfront mansions. Later owned by the Drexel family, Count Alphonso Villa, and railroad baron Robert Young, it has been visited over the years by luminaries like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and John F. Kennedy. The 20,000 square foot main house presides over 4.3 acres of waterfront lawn, with an enormous walled swimming pool, pool house and carriage house.
This is from an article by Rob Bear, Curbed, in Yahoo Real Estate, May1, 2012. There are more to be continued. But all of them cannot hold a candle (pardon the cliche) to our own Connecticut McMansion, Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, CT. You will have to come back next week to read the rest of the story.