Biltmore Estate temporarily shutters, furloughs workers

The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina (Photo: Blake Lewis / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina is furloughing 2,200 employees after temporarily closing its doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Wednesday that the 8,000-acre estate hadn’t closed its doors since World War II.

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It first opened to the public in 1930. The 250-room chateau was built by businessman George Vanderbilt in the late 19th Century.

It anchors an estate that is home to a winery, hotels, restaurants and a working farm. The estate opened as a tourist attraction during the Great Depression as a way to help the area economically.

These days the estate typically draws about 1.4 million visitors a year.