© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Charlotte Talks: 'The Last Castle' The Story Behind The Biltmore House


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

All about a place ordinary North Carolinians love to visit but a place built for the high and mighty: Biltmore House. Mike Collins explores it’s fascinating history.

George W. Vanderbilt came from New York society. His annual income from his inheritance was netting him a half-million dollars a year in 1888. What to do with all that money?

Credit threadshots.com
Denise Kiernan, author of 'The Last Castle'

His friends were building summer cottages, but he didn’t want his in Newport with everyone else. Instead, he looked south to Asheville. Those dreams for a cottage turned into the 175,000-square foot Biltmore House, America’s largest home, a temple to the Gilded Age.

That home has become a tourist attraction allowing ordinary folks to peer into the lavish lifestyle of a by-gone era. Its history is storied and fascinating and told in Denise Kiernan’s new book The Last Castle. She shares the story with us.


Denise Kiernan - Author of The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home. She is also the author of The Girls of Atomic City and several other books.

Related reading:

New York Times: Biltmore House, America’s Original McMansion

Asheville Citizen-Times: 'The Last Castle' shares untold stories of Biltmore, Vanderbilts

Wall Street Journal: A Carolina Xanadu

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.