The "Other" Mansions
It must be hard to keep up with the Vanderbilts. When grandpa Cornelius died his adjusted net worth was $185 billion dollars.
Even a full throttle effort to make poorly considered investments (say, bitcoin or a warehouse inventory of colorful leggings) would still be hard for the grand-grand-grand-grand kids to blow.
I've already shown you The Breakers. The family's Newport, Rhode Island summer getaway that was inhabited just 6 weeks per year.
Imagine that's your neighbor. The 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby for a fake wood "Live, Laugh, Love" wall piece is not going to cut it.
So take a stroll drown from The Breakers and step inside the lesser revered "summer cottages" to truly immerse yourself in the most expensive ding dong measuring contest of the Industrial era.
The Marble House - made almost completely of marble giving it the warm, welcoming glow one might anticipate inside a bank or divorce lawyers office. Ah, home.
Or my favorite, Rosecliff, a gift to a silver heiress who evoked Curious George in her fated effort to outdo every other block party.
She announced a Prince would be in attendance. At dinner, a sassy monkey ran into the ballroom dressed in royal regalia. Regrettably, after one too many drags off the champagne the little guy was plastered and took to the chandeliers.
Drunk and probably underpaid, the chimp started hurling lightbulbs at the guests. After decades of decadence that was the first time someone considered that perhaps the Newport lifestyle had gone a bit...overboard.
Our silver heiress would later lose her mind as World War I began and society shamed the ultra-wealthy. Hers and every other mansion was then considered excessive, dated and a hassle to inherit.
They fell into disrepair. Some were sold at auction for a few thousand dollars.
Before her death the heiress would roam her empty ballroom alone, encouraging the visions of her past to have just one more glass of champagne.
Today you and 3,000 of your closest friends who lack spacial awareness can tour all of these.
We imagine what it must have been like to live in such splendor. We fantasize about what *we* would do with all that money.
Presumably forgetting that the Guilded Age, and extreme wealth in general, is all but a veneer. It isn't promised to last and not a single one of them took a penny to the grave.