Often the Vanderbilt name is associated with wealth and luxury. The Breakers mansion is proof that those associations are grounded. The first Vanderbilt to accumulate money was Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. He accrued his money by investing in steamships as well as the New York Central Railroad. The Railroad especially was a crucial part of the industrial revolution. Eventually, in 1885 the Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became the president of the New York railroad. In that same year he purchased a mansion from another wealthy individual: Pierre Lorillard IV. The wood house was called the Breakers, but unfortunately burned down in 1893. To replace the building Cornelius Vanderbilt II hired Richard Morris Hunt to create a luxurious mansion in the classic Italian Renaissance style similar to what people might see in Venice or Rome. Sculpture Karl Bitter ended up helping by designing the relief sculpture. It was completed just two years later in 1895.
Many people consider it the perfect example of the "gilded age" of the late 1800's and early 1900's right before the great depression. It is part of a larger collection of Vanderbilt summer homes in the area. After being passed down throughout generations it was eventually purchased by the Preservation Society in 1972 and today is considered a historical landmark of the area. Guest can buy tickets to tours from the Preservation Society of Newport County. To view only the Breakers house is 26 dollars for adults and 8 for youth. The Preservation society, however, offers other ticketing options such as a `1 House Ticket, a 2 House Ticket, and a 5 house ticket. These allow guests to view multiple historic houses in the area. There is also an option called the Winter Passport which allows viewing of all houses open during the winter season for only 35 dollars for adults and 10 dollars for youth.