Biltmore presents a quandary. A monument to Gilded Age opulence and generational wealth, it chomps out a space where the southwest quarter of the city would be. An asset-rich and cash-poor inheritance like so many country piles, it now drives tourism and provides jobs; many of its hospitality workers call it ‘the plantation’. Most of the original Vanderbilt landholdings became a national forest; much of what was left outside the main estate is managed by the other side of the family for upscale property development. It provides green spaces and quiet places for local residents to walk and cycle; it costs $250 per year to access them.
In the azalea garden a plaque under a tree commemorates Chauncey, the gardener.