“The great country house as it is now understood is a new type of dwelling, a sumptuous house, built at large expense, often palatial in its dimensions, furnished in the richest manner and placed on an estate, perhaps large enough to admit of independent farming operations, and in most cases with a garden which is an integral part of the architectural scheme.”
Barr Ferree, American Estates and Gardens, 1904
The development of a country estate for families of great wealth was a complex process, requiring numerous architects, landscapers, engineers, and decorators. At Hyde Park, the Vanderbilts worked with no fewer than five building architects, four landscape architects, four interior decorating firms, and a “farm expert” to revitalize one of the most enduring country places in America. The house, or mansion, was of central importance, but gardens, greenhouses, a park, stables, boat houses, sporting pavilions, working farms, and guest cottages were necessary to serve a way of life made possible by vast fortunes. Hyde Park is a stately and recognizable product of America's great country house era.