This massive mega mansion on 65th street fifth avenue was the New York City mansion of Caroline Astor and her son John, the richest man on the Titanic. This mansion was really a double mansion divided in half, Mrs. Astor lived in the left side and John and his family lived in the right side, the ballroom at the rear was shared. The Astors were a very wealthy family of slumlords, whose fortune came from the family's many land holdings and real estate properties, in fact the family at one point owned 29% of New York City. The Astor family fortune enabled them to live in luxurious mansions, eat of off of gold plated china, drive around in expensive Rolls Royce limousines and be attended to by a fleet of servants. Mrs. Astor, whose husband William was once the head of the family until he died, was the Queen of New York City society, the famous "400" as they were called, and also had homes in Newport,Paris and on the Hudson. Mrs. Astor had originally lived in a brownstone mansion at 34th street, but conflicts with her nephew William Waldorf, caused him to tear downs his father's mansion next door and build the Walorf Hotel. The noise and trafic caused by the hotel forced her to move to another location, she picked a lot on 65th street she owned and tore down her brownstone and had built a competing hotel (now the site of the Empire State Building). She hired architect Richard Morris Hunt to design the Mansion in the french style for her and her son on a 100 by 100 foot lot.
5th Avenue Elevation
Plumbing in the basement
Fifth Avenue Front
Main Hall Light Fixtures
Stair Hall (one of two )
Stair Hall Chandelier
Mrs. Astor's Drawing Room
John's Drawing Room
State Dining Room
Corner View and Musician's Balcony
After Mrs. Astor died John had the double mansion converted into one large mansion. He had the dividing wall removed and also removed the double staircases, in the place he added a large great hall with a smaller staircase in the rear of the home. Also changed in the Astor Mansion was his dining room, which became the library, his drawing room, which stayed , his and his mom's reception room, opened up to create a large vestibule and his mother's drawing room, which became the morning room. After John went down on the Titanic his second wife Madeleine moved in on the terms that if she remarried she would have to give up the mansions and millions she inherited. Madeleine did many major renovations including turning the Guest room on the second floor into her bedroom and completely tearing out all of the guest rooms on that side and turning them into a private bathroom, dressing room, walk in closet and glass domed boudoir. Later on Madeleine remarried and the mansion went to John's son Vincent. Vincent and his wife preferred their Long Island estate to Newport and sold the Astor family estate "Beechwood" in Newport for $30,000 and also sold the Astor estate "Ferncliff" on the Hudson for $20,000. Vincent also wanted a smaller New York City residence and sold the Astor Mansion to developers for $130,000. The salon, library and all of the painting in the ballroom where bought by the Ringling Brothers Museum. Today a Temple stands on the spot where Mrs. Astor had received the famous "400".
* Note Photos of Musician's balcony in ballroom came from Half Pudding Half Sauce Blog
*Note Photos of the Main Hal and Library came from Mansions of The Gilded Age Blog