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1885: The Vanderbilt Mansion

Photograph of 660 Fifth Avenue – the mansion of William K. and Alva Vanderbilt. The mansion was built for William Kissam Vanderbilt, second son of William H. Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa Kissam from 1878 to 1882.

Determined to make her mark in New York society, Vanderbilt’s wife Alva worked with the architect, Richard Morris Hunt, to create the French Renaissance-style chateau. Her renowned fancy-dress ball, held here in March 1883 and attended by a thousand people, captured the public’s attention.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

History of NYC - 10,000+ Years Ago

Learn all about NYC’s fascinating past by exploring the natural forces that shaped the environment and landscape, along with the people who would transform the “Island of Many Hills” into the greatest and most influential city in the world.


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