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Emily Vanderbilt’s Estate in Berkshires, MA (Listed for $12.5 Million)

Emily Vanderbilt was a prominent member of the Vanderbilt family known for their extravagant philanthropy. She was a well-known socialite, born in the mid-1800s in New York City as the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Her Massachusetts estate, built in 1886 and located in the Berkshires, was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, best known for his work on New York’s Central Park. The Elm Court Estate measures in at 55,000 square feet and is now listed for $12.5 million.

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The Vanderbilt family is a well-known name in the history of philanthropy. Their fortune began during the Gilded Age, and over the many decades, the family became linked for other similar families through marriage, as is the case with the elder Emily Vanderbilt — she married William Douglas Sloane in 1872.

They financed the creation of New York’s Sloane Hospital for Women, which still operates today and is also home to some of Columbia University’s medical departments. The Sloane family also donated to create the Sloane Physics Laboratory at Yale University.

The Vanderbilt Sloane children would go on to carry this legacy, with the younger Emily becoming a prominent author and socialite, as well as the president of numerous charities.

In 1886, Emily and William built this gorgeous Berkshires estate, an Olmstead design. The estate comes in at 55,000 square feet, sitting on 89 acres of land in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. The house has a total of 106 rooms, 13 of which are newly renovated bedrooms.

Other features of the estate include a large butler’s pantry, a recently-updated chef’s island kitchen, a butler’s house, a library, multiple greenhouses, a carriage house and stable, two barns, and separate houses for caretakers and gardeners.

The unique Olmstead design comes in true elegance: an intricately carved plaster ceiling hangs above the dining room, herringbone floors line the home, and a number of preserved fireplaces adorn several of the many rooms.

Outside, the 89 acres of land sit in the beautiful Berkshires of Massachusetts, with well-kept landscaping surrounding the home itself and beautiful woods covering a large portion of the property. The view from the property looks out over the rolling hills and features in some places a Mediterranean aesthetic.

The Vanderbilt family home is one of America’s most historic homes, though less ornate than the family’s famous home in North Carolina. Fitting, though, as this estate perfectly captures the cozy feel of New England — it is elegant, but not over-the-top.

The home was modeled after Colonial American architecture, and it is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Original details have been preserved, including 13 of its bedrooms, the intricately carved ceiling in the formal dining room, the hardwood herringbone flooring, and the massive stone and marble fireplaces. Other features, like the chef’s kitchen, have also been updated.

This gorgeous estate, built in the late 1800s for Emily Vanderbilt and William Douglas Sloane, is now on the market. It is a perfect historical landmark to New England as well as the family’s rich history. The Elm Court Estate is listed for $12.5 million.

Photo credits Exterior: Gavin Preus,

Photo credits Interior: Anthony Acocella