Day 42 Continued - Vanderbilt Manson
Less than 1/2 mile from the Springwood Estate is the Vanderbilt Mansion, now a National Historic Site. Like everything "Vanderbilt," the house and grounds were vast and imposing.
The property was purchased in 1895 by Cornelius Vanderbilt's grandson Fredrick and his wife, Louise. The grounds included a pavilion, coach house, two bridges over Crum Elbow Creek, a power station, boat docks, a railroad station, and a lovely Italian-styled terraced garden
in full bloom. Like most Gilded Age estates, the Vanderbilt property is host to vast formal gardens and extensive landscaping.
The upper garden featured formal beds, while the lower garden exhibited a range of curvilinear shapes - crescents, hearts, and circular beds, all planted with various annuals.
After Fredrick Vanderbilt died in 1938, the Federal Government purchased the estate from a niece for $1.00. After the purchase, the lack of funds only allowed for the grounds, landscaping, and buildings maintenance. Unfortunately, the garden suffered years of neglect.
Thanks to the tireless work of a group of volunteers, the landscape has been restored to its former 1939 glory. However, there is still so much restoration work to be completed in the garden.
During my visit, the volunteer group (The Fredrick William Vanderbilt Garden Association) had a table set up at the garden entrance collecting donations. One of the volunteers told me the pandemic continues to significantly impact the organization - from securing donations to finding volunteers to complete the work needed to maintain the beds, such as planting flowers and repairing/replacing hardscape elements.