From presidential retreats, to massive homes of celebrities, to the homes of some of America’s most innovative creative minds, the United States has some of the most interesting and diverse homes and estates in the world. Here I count down the top 20 most fascinating. Feel free to comment, especially if you think anything was left off the list!
1.)The White House– Washington D.C.
The White House is America’s most prominent structure. Construction began in 1792, it was burned by the british in 1814, reconstructed, and it has long stood as the home of American Presidents.
2.)The Biltmore Estate– Asheville, North Carolina
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore was built in the late 19th century as one of the largest homes in the states. Today the house serves as a museum and the site also hosts a large winery. It’s so prominent that it’s even made appearances in movies such as Last of the Mohicans, Hannibal, and Forest Gump.
3.)Mount Vernon– Alexandria, Virginia
Mount Vernon served as the home of the first U.S. President George Washington. The house was constructed in 1757. It’s also Washington lived out his last days. Today it still attracts a large amount of tourists and is also where Washington is buried.
4.)Graceland– Memphis Tennessee
Graceland is the iconic home of late rock n’ roll king Elvis Presley. The house was built in 1939 and purchased by Presley in 1957 for $100,000. Today it’s known as a tourist attraction. It’s also where Elvis is buried.
5.)Falling Water– Mill Run, Pennsylvania
This prominent structure was designed by U.S. architect Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed between 1936 and 1939 at a cost of 155,000. By the 1980’s, Running water had some leaking and mold issues, due to the fact that it sits directly above a waterfall. It then underwent preservation by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy which fixed most of Running Water’s problems. Today it still stands as elegant as ever.
6.)Monticello– Charlottesville, Virginia
Monticello not only served as the home of the 3rd President of the United States-Thomas Jefferson, but it was also designed by him. While serving as U.S. Minister to France, Jefferson became inspired by some of the European architecture he saw. When he returned, he then began remodeling Monticello to the way it looks today. The property was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1960.
7.)Kennedy Compound– Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
The Kennedy Compound became prominent in the 1960s during the administration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. It’s also served as a home for other prominent members of the Kennedy family throughout the ages including Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy. When U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy passed away in 2009 it was made public that the property would later be turned into a museum.
8.)Neverland Ranch-Los Olivos, California
Neverland Ranch served as the home of U.S. pop star Michael Jackson from 1989 to 2005. At one point the property had it’s own zoo, theme park, and train station. Jackson sold a portion of the property in 2008 but continued to maintain some ownership in it until his death in 2009. Whatever happens to the property in the future, it’s certain Jackson’s fans will flock to it’s gates for a long time to come.
9.)Camp David– Thurmont, Maryland
Camp Davis has served many U.S. Presidents as their personal retreat. Here, many leaders have met and made agreements affecting the world. The property is maintained by the U.S. military and received it’s current name by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, who renamed the property Camp David after his grandson.
10.)Hearst Castle– San Simeon, California
William Randolph Hearst was America’s leading newspaper magnate during the early 20th century and he owned such publications as the San Francisco Examiner, The Detroit Times, The New York American, and The Los Angeles Herald. Through his endeavors he attained a massive personal wealth and in 1919 he commissioned architect Julia Morgan to design the mansion. Construction began later that year and lasted another 28 years. The castle itself has 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, outdoor and indoor pools, it’s own airfield, and a movie theatre.
Throughout it’s heyday the castle received such guests as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and Charles Lindbergh. The property also served as inspiration for the beginning of Citizen Kane, a 1941 film by Orson Welles based on William Randolph Hearst. Five years after William Randolph Hearst’s death the property was donated by his estate to the state of California where today it remains a museum as a national historic landmark, and a spectacular site by the Californian coast.
11.)Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum– Baltimore, Maryland
This small home in Baltimore, Maryland is famous for being the home of American writer Edgar Allen Poe. Designated as a national historic landmark in 1972, today the house is home to the Edgar Allen Poe Society. It’s also said that Poe wrote some of his work here including, “MS. Found in a Bottle”, “The Coliseum”, and “Berenice”. During renovations in the mid 20th century, bones were found beneath the floor boards, similar to Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart. The bones ended up belonging to animals, but still interesting indeed.
12.)Playboy Mansion– Los Angeles, California
Like it or not, the Playboy Mansion is one of America’s most well-known homes. Playboy owner Hugh Hefner has been known to throw extravigant parties on the property throughout the years.
13.)La Casa Pacifica– San Clemente, California
La Casa Pacifica served as U.S. President Richard Nixon’s western white house. It’s also where he spent his time secluded after resigning from the presidency in 1974. Although there have been ideas to make the property a museum, it remains the home of a private owner. There’s even a bush trimmed in the shape of an elephant, the symbol of Nixon’s political party, the GOP.
14.)Rancho del Cielo– Santa Ynez, California
Rancho Del Cielo served as the western white house for U.S. President Ronald Reagan. It’s here where the president entertained and met with many important world leaders. Reagan referred to his private getaway as “heaven”. Today the property is maintained by a private organization where students are allowed to visit. Perhaps someday it will be turned into a nation historic site.
15.)Little White House– Warm Springs Georgia
This property served as the retreat of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and he passed away here in 1945. Today the property is maintained as a museum.
16.)The Blair House– Washington, D.C.
The Blair House has served over the years as an official government guest house for many prominent visiting world leaders. It’s even used as the guest house of the U.S. president-elect, prior to his official move into the White House(across the street).
17.)The Mark Twain House– Hartford, Connecticut
This home in Connecticut belonged to famous american folk writer Mark Twain from 1874 to 1891. It’s here where Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
18.)The Albert Einstein House– Princeton, New Jersey
The Einstein House belonged to famous german/american physicist Albert Einstein from 1936 to 1955. It was designated a National Historic Landmark.
19.)Boldt Castle– Heart Island, New York
Boldt Castle might be America’s most prominent castle. It was constructed during the early 20th century. It was first home to George Boldt, a prominent american hotel owner. Even though it’s construction began so early on, construction stopped when Boldt’s beloved wife passed away. The property remained in shambles until 1977, when it was purchased by the Thousand Island Bridge Authority and restored. Most of the grounds can be assessed by the public nowadays for free.
20.)Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio– Chicago, Illinois
Not only did this house serve as the main property for U.S. architect Frank Loyd Wright, it also served as his studio, where he designed some of his most famous buildings. It was declared a national historic landmark in 1976.