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Tidbit about Biltmore

Discussion in 'Our Firewood Forum' started by Dustin4185, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Dustin4185

    Dustin4185 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    My wife and the family always visit Biltmore multiple times a year. We went yesterday and did a behind he scenes tours that focused on the servants life and duties. For those that don’t know all the details, it is a monster house built for George Vanderbilt. During the tour, she mentioned that they hired 4-5 teenagers that cut the wood for the house and its 65 fireplaces. They burned an average of 600 cords a year! We are talking cutting and processing 600 cords with hand tools each year!
     
  2. stihl_head1982

    stihl_head1982 Here long time

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    Were those teenagers -- those who lived back in the days of Vanderbilt or are we talking "today's teenagers" (if they are claiming they are "today's teenagers" -- I gotta see it to believe it :cool: )
     
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  3. Ryan Browne

    Ryan Browne Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Holy balls, 600 cords a year!! That's hard to even wrap my brain around.
     
  4. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    That’s 5ft heigh 50ft wide 307 ft long if my calculations are correct
     
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  5. MarkEagleUSA

    MarkEagleUSA Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Half a football field!
     
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  6. Dustin4185

    Dustin4185 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Back in 1895! I will day my 9 year old outworks most other teenagers now!
     
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  7. Dustin4185

    Dustin4185 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    My thoughts exactly!
     
  8. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    I think at that time Vanderbilt had about 125000 acres so at least they had plenty of trees. So even if they had 30 teenagers working there they would need to cut and split 20 cords each. With a crosscut saw and an axe.
     
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  9. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    One time me and 72thing decided we would cut a 54” red oak with a 7’ crosscut that I probably didn’t know how to sharpen to see what the old days were like. They can have the good old days.
     
  10. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    I would rather hew beams with a broad axe any day over a crosscut saw.
     
  11. morewood

    morewood Mr. Awesome

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    Living in the area I have to add a few assumptions. Except for the area right there around Asheville there was still lots of old growth timber and logging was THE industry. Along with the fact that they had a rail line that went to the property it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of wood could have been brought in that way. Also, lets be realistic, I doubt her information was exact. 600 cord(76,800cf) of firewood done by hand is a full time, year long job for a full size crew of any age people, teenager or not. The property went from where it's at up to I believe, Mt Pisgah. Visiting the Biltmore house is a great experience. Visiting it during the Christmas season or when things are in bloom is a view you won't see anywhere else.

    Mr Awesome

    PS-Most of today's teenagers couldn't even fathom that amount of work, much less get off the electronic nipple to start doing it.
     
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  12. stihl_head1982

    stihl_head1982 Here long time

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    He just mashed the TROOF! button in that PS. Right-toe my friend. The "electronic nipple" is starving the young people of our generation from having any work ethic or real world skills. My heart fears for what America will look like when they are grown. But this is the voice of an old geezer typing at the moment :D
     
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  13. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    I don’t think with 65 fire places that would be far fetched if wood was their only heat source. Plus you had the kitchen that feed all the staff. Looks like they would have had some kind of massive coal burning broiler system since the rail line ran there.
     
  14. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    The volume of the average 1500 square ft house is 12000 cubic ft the dining room alone at the Biltmore is 212000. If it takes 8-9 cords to heat my uninsulated house. That’s roughly 162 cords for the dining room with its 70ft ceiling. They even had a giant heated swimming pool in the basement.
     
  15. stihl_head1982

    stihl_head1982 Here long time

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    My head is swimming. I'm wondering now if this is why the admission is so high. Are they trying to recoup financial losses? :banana:
     
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  16. longleaf

    longleaf Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Crazy thing is George Vanderbilt only inherited about 5 percent of daddy’s money. I can see why they didn’t share much with him he sure liked to spend it.
     
  17. Dustin4185

    Dustin4185 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    I always take what the guides say with a grain of salt, BUT they had copies of a ledger from the estate and that where those numbers come from. You also have to wonder if that was for the entire estate including the dairy and other buildings. He did own to Mt. Pisgah and was working on the deal to sell what is now Pisgah NF to the government when he died in his apartment in D.C. I would also assume that the wood was probably brought in by rail.

    Many people also don’t know that the land surrounding the house was pretty much a wasteland that had already been farmed to death when he bought it. All the trees in the immediate area of the house were planned and planted.

    We went there when I was a landscape design major and then as a forestry, wildlife, and fisheries major! He was a huge proponent of managing natural resources.

    Christmas is one of the better times, but I like January when you see them cleaning and repairing things. I keep telling my wife I want to work there when we retire.

    What area do you live? We usually stay over near Bent Creek or other outskirts areas.
     
  18. Dustin4185

    Dustin4185 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    They had a steam/radiator system that burned coal and used chases to distribute the heat, but the radiators were in the basement. Going four floors up, it didn’t stay warm too long. They have switched to NG, but they still use the radiators and chase system.
     
  19. Dustin4185

    Dustin4185 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    It is high unless you get passes. They aren’t much more and are cheaper to renew, or at least used to be. We go 6-8 times at least. Before kids, we went once a month. I just go to eat at Deerpark!
     
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