20. Vanderbilt Mansion at 5th Avenue and 58th Street - 1910

The Vanderbilt Mansion was home to members of the prestigious family most well known for building America’s railways. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the family’s patriarch, built up the family’s railway and shipping empires during the 19th century and it was his descendants who, during the Gilded Age, went on to construct ten great mansions along Fifth Avenue.

Found on the left side of this postcard and capped with a green mansard roof, is one of these ten Vanderbilt mansions. The home pictured was commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II to be designed by George B. Post and Richard Morris Hunt. The mansion was completed in 1882, with a substantial addition in 1894. Home to Cornelius Vanderbilt II and members of his immediate family, this mansion survived as a reminder of the residential character of Fifth Avenue until 1927, when it was demolished to make way for the new retail ventures that were rapidly climbing up the avenue.

The Vanderbilt family is said to have purchased land along Fifth Avenue in order to protect their residences from business encroachment; an ironic fact, as the site where the mansion once stood is now home to the upscale department store, Bergdorf Goodman.

The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition
New York Times Book of New York: Stories of the People, the Streets, and the Life of the City Past and Present

Vanderbilt Mansion
West 58th Street at 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10019