Before neighbors could show off their wealth by purchasing the latest sports car, wealthy people in America flaunted their money by building opulent mansions. Because of modern advancements in building technology, erecting mansions is easier than ever. But in the early days of America, commissioning a grand homestead was a luxury very few could afford. Many of these homes cost millions of dollars to build at a time when spending that much money on a home was practically unheard of.
There are massive homes in each U.S. state — from plantation homes in the South, to sprawling British-inspired castles in New England, to mansions out in the deserts of the West. These massive single-family homes are now steeped in history, telling the stories of the people who built them and the time when they were constructed.
24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the largest historic mansion in each state by reviewing information from media sources, historical societies, and museums.
Though each state has historic mansions, some mansions are considerably larger than others. The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina is a gigantic 135,280 square feet — the largest historic mansion in the country. For comparison, The White House is just 55,000 square feet. Arkansas’ largest historic mansion appears to be the relatively small 6,000 square feet Clayton House.
When a structure is that small, it can be tough to determine for certain whether or not it is truly the largest historic mansion. It is possible there is a larger mansion that does not have its size publicly available and has not been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though the people who commissioned the houses have long been dead, many of their names and legacies live on. The famously wealthy Vanderbilt family built two of the homes on the list: the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and The Breakers in Rhode Island, located in Newport, one of the oldest towns in America. Matilda Dodge Wilson was left with a fortune when her husband John Dodge, co-founder of the Dodge motor company, died. She used some of the money to build Meadow Brook Hall, an 88,000-square-foot mansion in Rochester, Michigan.
But it is not just titans of industry who commissioned a state’s largest homes. Often, governors’ mansions rank as the largest historic homes in their respective states. In states like Kentucky, Maryland, and Mississippi, here are no historic mansions still standing larger than the governor’s mansion.
Many of these mansions are quite old. In Alaska and Hawaii, the mansions listed were built before those states joined the Union.