Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site Frederick W. Vanderbilt's Hyde Park Estate 1895-1938 Vanderbilt Mansion NHS, in terms of architecture, interiors, mechanical systems, road systems and landscape, is a remarkably complete example of a gilded-age country place, illustrating the political, economic, social, cultural, and demographic changes that occurred as America industrialized in the years after the Civil War.

Temporarily closed

The Vanderbilt 1918 Crane-Simplex Model 5Producer of one of the finest and most exclusive luxury cars built in the USA b...

The Vanderbilt 1918 Crane-Simplex Model 5

Producer of one of the finest and most exclusive luxury cars built in the USA before World War I, the Simplex Automobile Company was founded when wealthy textile importer Herman Broesel purchased the Manhattan-based S&M Simplex company in 1907. The latter had come into being in 1904 when A. D. Proctor Smith and Carlton R. Mabley set up as automobile manufacturers in order to avoid the punitive customs duties levied on the foreign makes they imported. These included some of Europe’s finest: FIAT, Packard, Renault, and the Daimler-built Mercedes, whose advanced Simplex range inspired a host of imitators—Proctor Smith and Mabley included. Designed by Edward Franquist, the four-cylinder S&M Simplex was a very expensive car ($6,750 in 1904) and although the price dropped to $5,750 under Broesel’s ownership, it remained within the reach of only a privileged few.

To read the full article visit:

NPS Photo

It was the Great Depression, but luxury cars were still king, for those who had the means. Frederick Vanderbilt's 1933 V...

It was the Great Depression, but luxury cars were still king, for those who had the means. Frederick Vanderbilt's 1933 V-16 Cadillac is a sleek, modern statement of machine age design, carefully detailed and refined. Cadillac built only 300 V-16s during 1932, a huge drop from the nearly 3,000 built in the enthusiasm of 1930. Production never recovered, making Frederick Vanderbilt's 1933 model a rare automobile

For more information on Frederick Vanderbilt's 1933 Cadillac 452C visit:

NPS Photo

#Cadillac #VanderbiltMansion #NPSHydePark

#FlashbackFriday 2012This picture is a recent acquistion (2011) for the Vanderbilt Mansion NHS. It is a drawing of Frede...

#FlashbackFriday 2012

This picture is a recent acquistion (2011) for the Vanderbilt Mansion NHS. It is a drawing of Frederick Vanderbilt playing a banjo. Frederick really did play the banjo and it is still in our collection. The drawing is dated February 8th 1879.

#DYK #FrederickVanderbilt #NPSHydePark #Banjo


ALERT!: Our Visitor Center will be closed on Monday January 18th in observance of the holiday and will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday January 19th and 20th because of construction happening inside the building.

William H. Vanderbilt was born on May 8th, 1821.  The eldest son of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, “Billy”was not ini...

William H. Vanderbilt was born on May 8th, 1821. The eldest son of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, “Billy”was not initially liked by the Commodore. His father called him a “blockhead” and a “blatherskite”among other things on numerous occasions, thinking he would never amount to anything.

At age 18, the Commodore helped Billy get a job at Daniel Drew’s accounting house. Three years later Billy quit after a nervous breakdown, confirming the Commodore’s thoughts. He bought William a farm on Staten Island and exiled him to it. Billy then set about to make the farm profitable. He did so and raised his own family on the farm and impressed his father by also turning the unprofitable Staten Island railroad profitable.

The Commodore came to respect his eldest son and brought him into his railroad empire as his vice-president. While Commodore was the president of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad it was William who ran the railroad day-to-day, inspecting and scrutinizing every detail, becoming an effective manager. He became president of the New York Central upon the Commodore’s passing.

With the death Cornelius Vanderbilt, William inherited the lion’s share of the family fortune. The Commodore was worth roughly $100 million, William received $95 million of it. The rest was divided out to William’s siblings and other Vanderbilt relatives. There were doubts whether William could maintain the empire and he got his first test with the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

What started as an incident in response to repeatedly cut wages on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad spread to encompass nearly every railroad in the Northeast, leading to destruction of railroad rolling stock and lives lost. Amazingly, the New York Central weathered the strike due to William offering a $100,000 divided evenly among each employee of the NYC and the rescinding of a 10% pay cut.

As the Central ran and turned profit the stress of the fortune and running the railroad wore William down. From reform-minded politicians aiming to reel in his power and his railroad, to those attacking him in the press, William wanted out. In 1879, he sold the majority of ownership of the New York Central via J.P. Morgan to foreign investors. The Vanderbilts were no longer sole owners of the New York Central.

Despite this, William H. Vanderbilt still ran the railroad effectively. During his tenure the Michigan Central Railroad and its lessee Canada Southern Railway came under firm Vanderbilt influence, as did the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad. He purchased the rival Nickel Plate Road Railroad, which paralleled Vanderbilt’s own Lake Shore & Michigan Southern to Chicago, to prevent any competition only to discover he vastly overpaid for a railroad at the cusp of bankruptcy.

Another parallel rival purchased was the West Shore railroad; a story which involves much intrigue. During all of this, he still lived comfortably. He built a massive mansion on 5th Avenue in New York City, taking up the entire block between 51st and 52nd streets. He amassed a sizeable collection of paintings of the old world masters. He created the Metropolitan Opera, saved Ulysses S. Grant from bankruptcy, and created a YMCA for railroad workers.

William H. Vanderbilt passed away December 8th, 1885 at the age of 64, worth roughly $232 million dollars at the time of death; he more than doubled his father’s fortune in eight years. In his will, his fortune was divided among his eight children; one of whom was Frederick Vanderbilt, owner of the mansion that became part of Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site.

Photo - William H. Vanderbilt - wikipedia
Photo - William H. Vanderbilt’s mansion on 5th in New York City. It consisted of three homes: One for him and his wife, and one each for a daughter. Source: Daytonian in Manhattan: The Lost Vanderbilt Triple Palace, 5th Ave and 51st Street (

Mid-Hudson Works

Mid-Hudson Works

Mid-Hudson Works was able to donate the scooters we had to the local Vet2Vet program. We felt a sense of community give-back yesterday when Vet2Vet picked up the scooters. These scooters will be given to two local Dutchess County Veterans in dire need.

Special thanks to Roosevelt-Vanderbuilt Historic Sites for their scooter donation to us, which allowed us to find it a good home. 🥰

The following story is an excerpt from A Treasury of Railroad Folklore:  The Stories, Tall Tales, Traditions, Ballads an...

The following story is an excerpt from A Treasury of Railroad Folklore: The Stories, Tall Tales, Traditions, Ballads and Songs of the American Railroad Man edited by B. A. Botkin and Alvin F. Harlow (Bonanza Books, New York, 1953):

The Commodore and the Conductor

In 1853, while Commodore Vanderbilt was only a steamboat boss, he was riding from Albany to New York on the Hudson River Railroad, when he became tired of sitting and concluded to go into the baggage-car and enjoy a cigar. In those days, they had no smoking-cars, and whenever a passenger felt like turning a little of the weed into ashes, he had to do it on the platform, as the regulations of most the roads forbade smoking in the baggage-car. As a rule, there was more chewing than smoking in those days.

But the commodore concluded that the baggage-car was good enough for him, and thither he went. Seating himself on a trunk, he began pulling away at a cigar with great delight and finally became lost in thought.

Allen Conrey was the conductor of the only express train that ran the road. Thousands of travelers, at the mention of his name, will remember “Al,” as he was always called. Well, after collecting his tickets on leaving Poughkeepsie, “Al” went into the baggage-car to count them and arrange his other business relating to the trip.

Noticing an old fellow seated there, smoking, with his white hat pulled down over his eyes, he turned to the baggage-master and asked who he was.

“Blessed if I know,” said the trunk-burster. “He is either somebody in authority or somebody with a good deal of cheek; for I told him that it was against the rules to smoke here, and all the reply he made was, ‘All right, young man’; and there he is. Suppose you tackle him,” he added.
“Al” looked at hm for a moment, and then turned away to finish counting his money and tickets, after which he approached and tapped the stranger on the shoulder.
“It is against the rules to smoke here, sir.”
“So that young man tole me. Nothing like enforcing the rules, conductor,” said he, emitting a mouthful of smoke.
“That’s just what I intend to do in your case,” said “Al” firmly. “So you must budge. Come.”
“Oh that’s the word, is it? Suppose I don’t budge?”
“Then I shall assist you, that’s all.”
“You look as though you would make a good assistant. I rather like you, young man.”
“All right, but I shall think more of you if you save me the trouble of ejecting you.”
“I’ll do all I can for you. Do you know who I am?”
“Haven’t the remotest idea, sir; but I know what the rules of this road are.”
“Well, sir, read that,” he said, handing him his card.
“C. Vanderbilt,” said “Al,” looking from the card to the renowned steamboat man. “So you are Commodore Vanderbilt, are you?
“I am,” replied the old smoker.
“Well, you must stop smoking nevertheless. I will not allow you to break a rule of this road any more than I would allow any other man to do it—not even if you owned it.”
“That’s good; I like your style,” said Vanderbilt, throwing his cigar from the open door. “Do you know I have a great mind to buy this road just for sake of getting you? I will, by thunder!”
“All right; but I wouldn’t allow you to smoke even then unless you abolish the rule.”
“Correct! young man. Come and see me at No.9 Battery Place. Here is a cigar for you.”

This ended the interview, and not long afterward the steamboater had control of the great river road, and “Al” Conrey was long held in his place of trust as conductor the famous express train between Albany and New York.

Photo of Commodore -

Come 1871, Commodore Vanderbilt was THE name in railroads.  He owned New York Central and Hudson River Railroad between ...

Come 1871, Commodore Vanderbilt was THE name in railroads. He owned New York Central and Hudson River Railroad between New York City and Buffalo, with a brand-new train station named Grand Central Depot in the middle of Manhattan. He was not done. He started making moves on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, a connection with the NYC&HR at Buffalo to Chicago along the coast of Lake Erie. And the Michigan Central and Great Western Railway (of Canada) for a Buffalo-Chicago connection via Canada. The Commodore still tussled with Jim Fisk and Jay Gould over shipping rates between New York and west on their respective railroads. In 1870, Vanderbilt took a controlling stake in the Western Union telegraph company. In 1872, the Commodore’s NYC&HR created a four track mainline between Albany and Buffalo. In 1873, he endowed what became Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He withstood the panic of 1873, and from it emerged the foundation of what became the modern New York Central system; a railroad stretching from the eastern seaboard to the Mississippi River. He also created a dynasty that synonymous with wealth for nearly 100 years; to this day the name “Vanderbilt” implies millions. The Commodore passed away January 4, 1877 at the age of 82 and was buried in the family mausoleum on Staten Island. His worth at the time of his death, adjusted for inflation, was $185 billion. Today, though the New York Central may be gone and Vanderbilts no longer stroll 5th avenue, the Commodore’s imprint is still there. The Staten Island Ferry still plies its way between State Island and Manhattan. The Commodores still play sports at Vanderbilt University, and a statue of Cornelius still stands at the modern Grand Central Terminal, a lasting monument to America’s first tycoon.

A later map. The four-track mainline was the Commodore’s idea. More tracks meant more trains meaning more freight meaning more profit - ebay
Vanderbilt University Seal - wikipedia
Vanderbilt University Basketball Court -
Commodores Mascot -
Commodore - wikipedia
Commodore Statue - Wikipedia

The Erie War of 1868Though Commodore Vanderbilt is best remembered for his New York Central empire, there is another rai...

The Erie War of 1868

Though Commodore Vanderbilt is best remembered for his New York Central empire, there is another railroad event he was involved in. During his time of attaining control of the NYC and merging it into the Hudson River Railroad, a man by the name of Jay Gould came calling on the Commodore. Mr. Gould was part of a clique that intended to throw Daniel Drew off the board of the Erie Railroad. Daniel Drew is a notorious figure in the financial history of the United States. Starting out as a cattle driver, he became a stockbroker and a steamboat entrepreneur. At one point, he was a rival to Vanderbilt on the Hudson River. He eventually brought Vanderbilt’s boats, giving Vanderbilt the money to go to Long Island Sound. The two would develop respect for one another, and something that could be called friendship if we may be generous. But Vanderbilt grew to dislike Drew due to the latter’s unscrupulous methods, particularly Drew’s mismanagement of the Erie and the New York & Harlem. In fact, Drew tried to take over the Harlem, but Vanderbilt brought every share he sold, even the ones that didn’t belong to him. But Drew’s treatment of the Erie went to new levels.

The Erie Railroad at one point was the longest railroad in New York state, the United States, and the world briefly. Due to this, it accumulated debts from construction, and declared bankruptcy because of it. Drew bought the railroad’s debt in return to sitting on its board and being made its treasurer, only then to line his pockets by additionally being a stockholder in the Erie. With his position as treasurer, he issued to himself 28,000 secret shares and 3 million dollars’ worth of bonds. Drew’s manipulations made the market unsteady, and Vanderbilt needed stability to carry out his control and consolidation of the New York Central. Vanderbilt agreed to work with Jay Gould. Yet, when Drew called on Vanderbilt, learning of the planned coup, he convinced Vanderbilt to change his mind. Gould responded with a new deal, with new partner Jim Fisk, that Vanderbilt agreed with that kept Drew off the board. But then another board member resigned, and Drew replaced him. It almost seems farcical. However, it was only the beginning.

Drew continued his old tricks. Vanderbilt filed an injunction to have him barred from the stock market and the board. It passed. Vanderbilt now had control of a railroad that he did not want. While the popular history states he wanted to control all railroads in New York State, this is not the case. As the Erie fiasco was occurring, he was also consolidating the New York Central. He didn’t want both; it was too much. But Gould, Fisk, and others didn’t know that. They didn’t kick Drew out for Vanderbilt to replace him. In response, Gould and Fisk, collaborating with Drew now, would issue stocks upon stocks, literally fresh off the printing presses without legal approval, to swamp Vanderbilt. The Commodore would buy and buy, just to take vengeance on Drew. It is believed he spent between $5 million to $8 million buy Erie stock, which nearly wiped out all the paper money in New York City. Judges filed contempt citations for the entire Erie board, who responded by taking their money and running away to New Jersey. Gould and Fisk were the last to leave, hastily departing from a fine meal at Delmonico’s steakhouse to a hired rowboat in the Hudson. After nearly drowning on the way over to Jersey City, they joined their fellow conspirators in Taylor’s Hotel. The whole circus at this point was making headlines in the newspapers. Judges in both camps filed enjoinments. New Jersey made law stating that the Erie Railroad was now a New Jersey company, protecting the fugitive board from New York State. Corruption was rampant among legislators, a majority of which was carried out by Jay Gould. Amazingly, no one could pin down who was bribed by the Erie gang since so many were being bribed all around. New York State would side with the Erie, so Vanderbilt would lose legally, but Drew went to Vanderbilt’s home, and offered to give Vanderbilt’s money back to him in exchange for the stock! You need a flow chart for all of this!

Gould and Fisk would learn of Drew’s treachery (in their eyes at least) and would call on the Commodore to arranger their own plan. Eventually a compromise was reached, the Erie gang started buying back the shares. Vanderbilt, although he weathered the Erie war, did technically suffer defeat and a tarnished reputation. He was now viewed as a monopolist in the public eye, something that would affect him greatly. Drew would later die impoverished. Fisk would be shot by the lover of his mistress. And Gould would go on to become the textbook definition of a robber baron.

Daniel Drew - Drew University History
Jay Gould - cbrowderblogspot
Jim Fisk - wikipedia
Cartoon - A cartoon depicting the Commodore and Jim Fisk’s rivalry. Also, it’s a bit of a joke in that the Commodore used to street race horse and carriages in Manhattan. Only here he’s on iron horses - wikimedia commons
Erie Stock Certificate - flickr


81 RTE 9
Hyde Park, NY

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 16:00
Thursday 08:00 - 16:00
Friday 08:00 - 16:00
Saturday 08:00 - 16:00
Sunday 08:00 - 16:00


(845) 229-7770


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Can u parking on the grounds
Beautiful views of the Hudson River, lovely grounds and a great mansion to explore. Lots of history here!
Does the Mausoleum at Moravian, ever get opened? Ever recent picture shows it locked up
Since Mr. Vanderbilt visited Tallapoosa, Georgia - you guys should be a sponsor of our NYE Celebration - the POSSUM DROP 2019 / 2020 !
when will the Christmas open house take place this year?
Beautiful historic house museum and grounds. Accessible to everyone, the house has an elevator, the guides are super helpful. Grounds are beautiful. The house is crazy hot in the summer but worth going anyway. The visitors center/gift shop has AC and is worth going to see on its own.