The Most Iconic Home in Every State
Whether a home has an extraordinary story that encapsulates a state’s history or represents something uniquely American, every state has an iconic home.
For this list, we searched each state for a residential (current or former) home that is representative of the United States at either a national or state level, or both. These are the most iconic houses in each state.
House: Gaineswood Mansion
Built after the land boom known as Alabama Fever — a rush of people moving westward to find land ripe for growing cotton in the early 1800s — the Gaineswood mansion started as a two-bedroom cabin that blossomed into a stunning Greek revival plantation over an 18-year building period. Built with slave labor, the 6,200 square-foot mansion was finished in 1861 on the eve of the Civil War. The Alabama Historical Commission acquired Gaineswood in the 1970s, and it is now open to the public for viewing.
House: Russian Bishop’s House
A long time ago, Russia had a stake in the Last Frontier. The state was the colonial capital of Russian America and Russia created this house to become the center of the Russian Orthodox Church diocese for the region. Built in 1842, the Russian Bishop’s House had fallen into a rotted state of disrepair by 1969, when the Russian Church finally closed its doors. The National Park Service acquired and rehabilitated the property in the 1970s and it is now open to the public.
House: Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights
This four-story, 5,000 square-foot castle sticks out of the metro area in Phoenix, Arizona like a giant wedding cake (which is, in fact, one of its nicknames). The castle was first meant to be a hotel and the crowning architecture of a subdivision when the building was completed in 1930. However, the builder, Alessio Carraro, had to sell the castle and a portion of the surrounding property one year later for reasons unknown. In 1931, Arizona meatpacking mogul Edward Ambrose Tovrea and his wife, Della Tovrea, purchased the property as their personal palace. The city of Phoenix bought the castle in 1993 and today it’s a tourist attraction.
House: Johnny Cash’s Childhood Home
Before the man came around, Johnny Cash was just a poor kid from rural Arkansas. He grew up in this house, located in Dyess, where he lived from the age of three until he graduated from high school. When he was five, the area flooded, which inspired the song “Five Feet High and Rising,” and under this roof he listened to gospel music and learned guitar. The house is now available for tours and “is furnished as it appeared when the Cash family lived there,” according to Historic Dyess Colony website.
House: Hearst Castle
Location: San Simeon
It was a toss-up between the Playboy Mansion and the Hearst Castle, but the Hearst Castle wins it. A mammoth ode to opulence and influence, the Hearst Castle includes a 68,500-square-foot mansion and three guest houses totaling 165 rooms with 123 acres of gardens, pools and terraces. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst spared no expense to have it built and furnished it with innumerable antiques, paintings and furniture. Estimates put the original cost of the estate at $10 million between 1919 and 1947, which is now what it costs to keep the property running as a tourist attraction each year.
House: Redstone Castle
The entire town of Redstone, Colorado, was created by John Cleveland Osgood, a robber baron who formed the (now defunct) Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. Osgood populated the area with Swiss chalet-style homes for miners, a school and library for the miners and their families. For himself, he built a massive 23,000-square-foot, 66-room Tudor for $2.5 million in 1903 (about $73 million in 2019). It’s said that one of the appeals for building the town of Redstone was to keep unionizers out — Osgood was known to employ violence against striking workers, and had a part in the 1914 Ludlow Massacre which resulted in 21 people dead, including two women and 11 children.
Redstone Castle can be seen in “The Prestige” and is also available to tour and book for events.
House: The Mark Twain House
Mark Twain’s wife, Livy, designed this quirky house in Hartford, Connecticut, along with the help of a New York architect. Construction began in 1873 and the family moved in a year later, even though the house was still being worked on (building was fraught with delays and expanding budget). And while Twain was a fantastic writer, he was miserable with money, and the family had to move to Europe in 1891 due to financial issues. Unfortunately, they never came back to live in this house — their daughter’s death in 1896 made it too difficult for the couple to return to Hartford, and they sold the property in 1903.
“Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief. You do not know what beauty is if you have not been here,” Twain once wrote of his dream house.
Once completed, the house stood at 11,500 square feet with 19 rooms and seven bathrooms. It cost $45,000 to build — about $1 million today, when adjusting for inflation.
House: Nemours Estate
Some of Delaware’s most spectacular sights are its mansions surrounded by gardens, and the Nemours Estate is quite possibly the most beautiful one. The estate was built in 1909-1910 by Alfred I. duPoint and designed to look like Versailles. With 77 rooms, 47,000 square feet and 222 acres (10 of which are devoted to a spectacular garden studded with colonnades, pools, fountains and sculptures), the Nemours Estate is open to the public.
House: Ernest Hemingway’s House
Location: Key West
Ernest Hemingway bought this limestone Spanish colonial for $8,000 in 1931 (about $135,000 in 2019). The 1851-built house was a fixer-upper, and Hemingway and his wife, Pauline, completely rehabbed the place and added a very expensive pool in 1937 or 1938 for $20,000 (about $364,000). Descendants of Hemingway’s cats — about half of which have a six-toed foot or two — live on the property, which is now a museum and bookstore.
House: The Herndon Home
Georgia was one of the original seven states that formed the Confederacy, which triggered the Civil War. Alonzo Herndon was born into slavery in 1858 and was emancipated after the war ended; he worked where he could until 1878, when, at the age of 20, he set out to make a life for himself with $11. He worked as a farmhand and learned barbering, then later opened up a barbershop in Atlanta, Georgia. He expanded that business all around the city and he invested profits into real estate — by the time he had died in 1927, his real estate holdings were valued at $325,000 (about $4.8 million in 2019). He was Georgia’s first black millionaire.
Herndon built this stunning Georgia Revival between 1908 and 1910. It has been a museum open to the public since 1983.
House: Iolani Palace
The Iolani Palace was the residence for the kings and queens of Hawaii before the monarchy was overthrown by European- and American-backed revolution. Since then, it was used for various Hawaiian governments, but fell into disrepair by the 1960s until it was repaired in the 1970s. Today, the 7,000-square-foot palace in downtown Honolulu is open to the public and an iconic relic from Hawaii’s storied history.
House: Standrod Mansion
This 16-room castle-like mansion in Potatello, Idaho, is perhaps the state’s greatest residence. According to Pocatello.com, the house was built in 1902 for $12,000 by Drew Standrod, a local judge. The house is currently in private hands and the current owners put the six-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot mansion up for sale for $599,000 in 2018, but it didn’t sell.
House: “Home Alone” House
This stately Georgian mansion in Winnetka, Illinois, was immortalized in “Home Alone” as the McCallister family mansion. While not all of the house was used in filming John Hughes’ smash hit film, the main staircase, kitchen and foyer made the cut. The 4,250-square foot home sold for $1.585 million in 2012.
House: Levi Coffin House
Location: Fountain City
For 20 years, the Levi Coffin House was known as the “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad. It’s believed that the home’s owners, Levi and Catharine Coffin, helped more than 2,000 slaves escape to the north. Today, the 1839 Federal-style brick house in Fountain City with a secret room upstairs is a museum.
House: American Gothic House
One of the most iconic houses in all of America, the American Gothic House was immortalized in the backdrop of Grant Wood’s 1930 “American Gothic” painting. Today, visitors are welcome to visit and take their own “American Gothic” selfies. Costumes and pitchforks are available!
House: Amelia Earhart’s House
Amelia Earhart, one of the most iconic women in American history, was born in this two-story, wood-frame gothic revival in Atchison, Kansas. The house now belongs to the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots whose inaugural president was Earhart. It now serves as a museum.
House: Federal Hill
Also known as “My Old Kentucky Home,” this federal-style 7,500-square-foot mansion was part of the inspiration behind the anti-slavery ballad “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!” which became Kentucky’s state song in 1928. Originally, Federal Hill was the centerpiece of 1,300 acres of land, which was tended to by 39 slaves. The house is said to be haunted, and ghost tours are available in October.
House: LaLaurie Mansion
Location: New Orleans
Louisiana is home to some of the most gorgeous plantations in the world, but no house quite encapsulates the state quite like the LaLaurie mansion. Located in the French Quarter on Royal Street in New Orleans, the LaLaurie mansion is reputed to be the most haunted place in the state. Here’s a brief history: Madame LaLaurie bought the home in 1831 for $33,750, where he and her husband brutally tortured slaves. A 12-year-old child jumped from the third floor to her death as she was trying to escape Madame LaLaurie’s punishment. When a fire broke out, a seventy-year-old woman was found chained to the stove, and subsequently several mutilated slaves were found in a slave’s quarters. The LaLauries were run out of town by an angry mob and they escaped to Paris.
Today, the house is in private ownership and its exterior is haunted by a never-ending parade of French Quarter ghost tours with picture-snapping tourists in tow.
House: Harriet Beecher Stowe House
Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in this home in Brunswick, Maine, for only a few years, but it’s where she wrote one of the most important books in American literature — “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” When greeted by Abraham Lincoln, it’s said that the President remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war” (although it’s debatable whether or not that exchange took place). Sometime after the book sold a record-setting 300,000 copies, she moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Mark Twain would be her neighbor.
House: Edgar Allan Poe House
Horror writer Edgar Allan Poe lived in this endcap row house in Baltimore, Maryland, and wrote some of his earlier works while he was in his 20s during the mid-1830s. He only stayed in this house for two years, but the house is one of the most recognizable in Maryland. It now functions as a museum.
House: The Witch House
Massachusetts was an incredibly important state in setting up the country’s democracy, and many revolutionaries and extremely influential people were born, lived and worked there. But the Salem Witch Trials are another level of fascinating history. This is the former house of Judge Jonathan Corwin, who was “unrelenting in seeking to confessions of witch craft,” according to the Salem Witch Museum. Some accounts say that Corwin interrogated those accused of witches in this house. It’s the only home in Salem still standing that has direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials.
House: Fair Lane
This is Henry Ford’s custom-built estate in Dearborn, Michigan. Frank Lloyd Wright drew an architectural rendering of the house, but he fled to Europe with his mistress in 1909, leaving Ford to choose Marion Mahony Griffin, one of the first female architects in America, to ultimately build the 31,000 square-foot mansion. The estate was renovated in 2015 and is now open to the public.
House: The F. Scott Fitzgerald House
Location: Saint Paul
Literary luminary F. Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote in this brownstone Victorian row house in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for several years. Here he wrote several short stories and “This Side of Paradise,” his freshman novel. The house, also known as Summit Terrace, sold for $600,000 in 2016.
Longwood is the largest octagonal house in the country. It should have been 30,000 square feet with six floors, but construction halted in 1861 because of the impending Civil War. Northern craftsmen heeded the call of the North and dropped their tools, leaving only the lower level finished. The house itself was never completed and remains frozen in time from the day the workers left.
House: The Daniel Boone House
Daniel Boone and his family built this four-story Georgian with limestone and black walnut over seven years. Daniel Boone, of course, was one of America’s greatest frontiersmen and Revolutionary War heroes. He settled down in Missouri in 1799 and died in this home in 1820. It is now a museum.
House: The Tinsley House
The Tinsley House was built in 1889, the same year that Montana became a state. It’s the pinnacle example of early homesteading in Montana. The four-bedroom, two-story log cabin was relocated from its original location in Three Forks to Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies in 1986. It receives about 20,000 visitors a year.
House: Buffalo Bill Ranch
Location: North Platte
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody was one of the Old West’s most famous characters. He wasn’t one of the best gunslingers, although he was buddies with “Wild” Bill Hickok, with whom he toured in the 1870s on his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” traveling play. It was terribly acted and the audience laughed more than they should — during one performance, Hickok shot out a stage light mid-play after becoming drunk and testy. But the play was a success, and Buffalo Bill purchased this estate in 1886. Today, it’s a state park.
House: Liberace’s Mansion
Location: Las Vegas
A 14,393-square-foot mansion that’s just as eclectic as its former owner, Liberace’s mansion in Paradise, Nevada is a wonderful example of Las Vegas-like, over-the-top splendor. The house includes walls or mirrors and a custom-designed marble bathtub with four marble Corinthian columns and a ceiling mural with Liberace’s face. The mansion had gone into disrepair after the showman died in 1987, but a Liberace fan purchased it in 2013 for $500,000 and poured $3 million into restoring it. The house can be seen in the HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra,” a biographic about the pianist’s life starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
House: The Robert Frost Farm
Four-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a big fan of fences, Robert Frost, lived in this white clapboard farmhouse from 1900-1911. Here he farmed, taught and wrote poetry, including the collections “A Boy’s Will” and “North of Boston,” which include the famous poems “After Apple-Picking” and “Mending Wall.”
Drumthwacket’s land was once owned by William Penn, the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania. Then 80 years later, in 1777, the American Revolution’s Battle of Princeton took place here. Owners of the property include Charles Smith Olden (who gave it the name, which means “wooded hill”), industrialist Moses Taylor Pine, and the Russian immigrant and inventor Abram Nathanial Spanel. It now serves as the governor’s mansion.
House: Ernest Blumenschein House
Ernest Blumenschein was one of the nation’s most celebrated painters of American Southwest landscapes and Native Americans. In 1915, he and several other artists formed the Taos Society of Artists, which helped cement Taos as an art colony. His home in New Mexico has been made into a museum and it has been maintained and furnished to look as it did when Blumenschein and his family lived here.
House: The Rockefeller Estate
Location: Sleepy Hollow
The Rockefeller Estate, formally known as Kykuit, is an imposing 36,000-square-foot stone mansion covered with flowering plants. The oil baron John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men to ever live (his wealth peaked at $900 million in 1912 – about $23 billion today) built this manse in the early 1900s on a site located about 500 feet above the surrounding town of Sleepy Hollow. The mansion has featured the Rockefeller family’s immense art collection, which includes art by Picasso, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Louise Nevelson, Monet and Matisse (in 2018, a portion of the Rockefeller family art collection sold for $832.6 million at auction). Acres of gardens with terraces, pools, statues and fountains line the estate.
Built by Richard Morris Hunt for George Washington Vanderbilt II, the Biltmore House is the largest residential house in the entire country at over 175,000 square feet. The French Renaissance-style chateau sits on 8,000 acres and has 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms. This Gilded Age estate is one of the most iconic examples of one of America’s most powerful families.
House: Maltese Cross Cabin
Location: Theodore Roosevelt National Park
President Theodore Roosevelt ranched and hunted bison in the Dakota Territory in 1883, and he built this cabin to stay in as a place of reprieve. He would later say “I would not have been president had it not been for my experience in North Dakota."
The Maltese Cross Cabin was shipped around the country as a touring attraction during Roosevelt’s presidency and it was placed in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1959.
House: The Cooke Castle
Location: Gibraltar Island
This castle located on Gibraltar Island in Ohio was built by Jay Cooke, a prominent banker, primary financier of Union forces during the Civil War and cause of the Panic of 1873. But Cooke also invested heavily in the railroads — a bit too heavily. According to PBS, his firm, Jay Cooke and Company, had poured so much of its money into the Northern Pacific Railroad that its coffers were emptied and the company was bankrupted. Its doors shuttered on September 18, 1873, which sent a ripple of financial panic throughout the entire country; 89 of the country’s 364 railroad companies and 18,000 businesses disappeared in two years, and the unemployment rate spiked to 14 percent. In 1877, striking railroad workers throughout the country were met with brutal counter-forces by fascistic hired guns and federal troops, with more than 100 killed.
House: Henry Overholser Mansion
Location: Oklahoma City
This rambling three-story French chateau-style house in Oklahoma City was built by Henry Overholser, an Oklahoman businessman and real estate mogul who was instrumental in developing Oklahoma City. The house was erected in 1904 for the cost of $38,000 and features stained-glass windows, hand-painted canvas ceilings and 11,700 square feet.
House: Pittock Mansion
In 1853, Henry Pittock took the Oregon Trail from Pennsylvania to find new fortune in the still-nascent city of Portland. He nabbed a job as a typesetter at The Oregonian and not long after that, was given ownership of the paper in exchange for back wages, according to the Pittock Mansion’s website. He built his 46-room mansion with sweeping views of downtown Portland in 1914.
Location: Mill Run
Perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright’s most beloved work is Fallingwater, an architectural masterpiece built above a waterfall in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. The house is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and tours run from March through December each year. At its time of completion in 1937, the final cost for Fallingwater tallied $155,000, or about $2.76 million in 2019 dollars.
House: The Belcourt of Newport
This 56,000-square-foot Gilded Age mansion was originally built for Oliver Belmont, a wealthy banker who desired a bachelor pad that doubled as a place for his many horses. The massive home originally only had a single bedroom, with the ground floor built around a huge carriage room and stables that included a marble trough. Belmont married Alva Vanderbilt, who decided that the ground floor didn’t need to be just for the horses, and started converting the house into a guest-friendly palace.
Today, the Belcourt of Newport belongs to Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of the Alex and Ani jewelry company. It was in disrepair and only cost $3.6 million to purchase (plus an extra $1 million for the furnishings). The house originally cost $3.2 million to build in 1894.
House: Drayton Hall
Built between 1738-1742, Drayton Hall is one of the oldest plantations in America; it survived both the Revolutionary War and Civil War. It’s one of the nation’s best examples of Georgian Palladian architecture and required over 366,000 bricks to build, mostly via slave labor. According to Garden & Gun, there’s an urban legend as to how Drayton Hall survived when plantations on both sides were burned during Sherman’s March. Allegedly, a doctor working at the house hung yellow flags, signaling the presence of smallpox at the property. This kept away Union soldiers who didn’t want to chance contracting the disease.
House: Adams House
The Adams House was built in 1892 by Harris and Anna Franklin, two people who found their fortunes in that Old West town known as Deadwood. Harris made his money through selling wholesale liquor, gold mining and banking. With their newfound wealth, the Franklins built this Queen-Anne style that had the luxurious of electricity, hot water and central heating. The house was sold to longtime Deadwood mayor W.E. Adams in 1920. Today, it’s a museum.
One of the most iconic homes in the country, Elvis Presley purchased Graceland for $102,500 in 1957 — about $936,000 in 2019 dollars. Graceland is a magnificent 17,552-square-foot colonial revival with five staircases, three fireplaces and a kidney-shaped pool. Over 600,000 Elvis fans visit the site each year, although the second-floor bathroom where he suffered a fatal heart attack is closed off.
House: Spanish Governor’s Palace
Location: San Antonio
The Spanish Governor’s Palace in San Antonio is the last remaining example in Texas of an aristocratic, 18th century Spanish Colonial townhouse. Completed in 1749, the single floor, 10-room, U-shaped manse served as a residence for the Captain of the Presidio and later, the home of Spanish governors. Visitors can tour the palace and even rent it for special occasions.
House: The Beehive House
Location: Salt Lake City
The Beehive House belonged to Bingham Young, second president of the Mormon Church and founder of Salt Lake City. The house receives its name from the beehive-like ornamental structure on its roof.
Hildene is the Lincoln Family home, built by Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert. Robert was the only child of Abraham’s to live beyond 18 years of age. He settled here with his wife, Mary, in Manchester, naming this massive summer estate of 412 acres at the turn of the 20th century. Now open to the public, the Georgian revival mansion has a solar-powered goat dairy and cheese-making facility, a teaching greenhouse, animal barn, orchard and gardens.
One of the most iconic homes in America, Monticello was the primary plantation of President Thomas Jefferson. The neoclassical plantation with Palladian features can be found on the nickel, along with Jefferson’s profile. The plantation was maintained by around 130 slaves, one being Sally Hemings, the young girl with whom Jefferson fathered at least six children.
House: Bill Gates’ House
It’s the youngest house on this list, but fewer people in recent history have had more influence over the way we live and work than Bill Gates. Located in Medina, Washington, it took seven years and $63 million to make this home, which he christened Xanadu 2.0 after the fictional home of Charles Foster Kane from “Citizen Kane” (which was based on Hearst’s castle). The 1997-built house includes either 18 or 24 bathrooms, depending on the source, six kitchen and around 66,000 square feet.
House: Blennerhassett Mansion
Location: Blennerhassett Island State Park
The Blennerhassett Mansion sits on an island, which was settled by Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett in 1789. In 1805, they made the mistake of aligning with Aaron Burr, who was looking to head west and create his own country carved from the American Southwest and Mexico. The Blennerhassetts allowed Burr to make their estate the headquarters for his expedition, but Burr was ultimately arrested and so was Harman. While both were acquitted, their reputations were ruined. The Blennerhassets fled to Mississippi and purchased a small cotton farm. The Blennerhassett Mansion burned down in 1811, but the U-shaped mansion was rebuilt by the West Virginia State Park in 1973. It’s open to the public.
House: Pabst Mansion
Located in Milwaukee is this towering testament to America’s love of cheap suds, built by the founder of the Pabst Brewing Company. The Pabst family only lived here from 1892 until 1908, when the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bought the brick-and-terracotta mansion and held onto it until 1975, when it was sold to the local government. It cost $254,000 to build in 1892.
House: Historic Governor’s Mansion
Wyoming’s Historic Governor’s Mansion is no longer the current governor’s mansion (that’s now a newer building), but this one has a rich history. It housed the United States’ first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who served from 1925-1927. The mansion cost $33,253 to build and furnish in 1904.