”The home should be the treasure chest of living.” -Le Corbusier

While America is fairly new as far as established countries go, there is a rich architectural history all around the country. Coast to coast you can find incredible homes and mansions built hundreds of years ago that have been maintained to not only live in, but educate the communities in areas of history and art. We’ve gathered our six favorite American mansions that are open to the public to tour.

Villa Vizcaya

Exterior outdoor home ideas coming from a mansion
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is open to the public. Source: Vizcaya

Agricultural industrial James Deering bought the land and retired to this incredible villa that he furnished with findings from Greece, Asia, Italy and all over the world. The architecture was influenced by Veneto and Mediterranean Revival with Baroque elements. The villa and its incredible Italian Renaissance gardens are now open to the public.


Landscaping ideas from Kykuit mansion in Sleepy Hollow, NY.
Kykuit is a preeminent Hudson Valley landmark. Source: Hudson Valley

This incredible mansion, Kykuit, was built by John D. Rockefeller and was home to four generations of Rockefeller’s. The mansion is six stories including underground art galleries and has an expansive gardens that include a 20th century sculpture collection.

Old Westbury Mansion

Exterior home ideas from Old Westbury Mansion in Westbury, NY.
The Old Westbury Gardens is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Source: Old Westbury Gardens

This incredible estate was finished in 1906 for John Shaffer Phipps a U.S. Steel and his family. It has 23 rooms and 160 acres. This home has been open for tours since the 1950’s and has been used in TV and films including Gossip Girl, American Gangster, Cruel Intentions, The Manchurian Candidate and was the inspiration for the Buchanan Estate in The Great Gatsby.

Pittock Mansion

Home exterior looks: Pittock Mansion in Portland, OR.
After it was destroyed, the community came together to restore it. Source: Pittock Mansion

Finished in 1914, owners Henry and Georgiana Pittock only got to live in their home, Pittock Mansion, a few years before their death. The home stayed in the family for a couple generations before it became too much to care for. After it was destroyed in a storm, the home became abandoned and was almost torn down but the community and city came together and raised money to restore it. In 1965 it was reopened to the public.

Shangri La

Inground pool inspiration: Shangri La in Honolulu
Shangri La is a museum for learning about the global culture of Islamic art and design. Source: Shangri La

In the late 1930s, Doris Duke built a beautiful home in Honolulu. This incredible home incorporates Islamic architectural features and an extensive Islamic art collection on five acres of land overlooking the ocean. While during her life Doris Duke valued her privacy, she left her beautiful home in her will to be used as a place for studying Islamic art and culture.

Oak Alley Plantation

Lawn care ideas: Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, LA.
Oak Alley Plantation was a former sugar plantation that survived the Civil War. Source: Oak Alley Plantation

This former sugar plantation survived the Civil War only to fall in the economic downfall of the post war times and ultimately had to be sold by the Roman family that had built it in 1839. It was sold for auction in 1866. By the 1920s the place had fallen apart and was purchased by Andrew and Josephine Stewart and restored as a cattle ranch. When Josephine died in 1972, she left the house to be open to the public.

We are constantly moving forward in our modern lives, but being able to stop and remember our nation’s past through the homes of real people can help teach us lessons for our futures. There are incredible homes open to the public from coast to coast to explore for their beautiful architecture, their rare art, and priceless histories.

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