The Most Famous House in Every State
Come along on this virtual tour of the nation’s most famous houses.
Alabama: Helen Keller’s birthplace
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement,” Helen Keller once said. The incredibly resilient educator, author, and activist for the rights of those living with physical challenges was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in this sweet, country cottage. Here are 19 inspiring quotes from other impressive women.
Alaska: Governor’s Mansion
From looking at this gorgeous, 15,000 square foot house, you might not realize it’s in Alaska. But that’s where it is—Juneau to be exact. It’s the Alaska Governor’s Mansion. Built more than 100 years ago, it’s a prime example of the neo-classical revival architectural style that was actually quite popular in Alaska in the first half of the 20th century.
Arizona: Taliesin West
Frank Lloyd Wright is one of history’s most iconic architects. His winter home, Taliesin West, located in Scottsdale, was also the sight of his architectural school/training ground from 1937 until Wright’s death at age 91 in 1959. It’s still a major tourist attraction in the Phoenix area and is one of a number of Wright-designed Arizona-desert gems. Don’t miss these 14 facts you never knew about Frank Lloyd Wright.
Arkansas: Johnny Cash’s boyhood home
The late, great country music star, Johnny Cash, was born into poverty in rural northeast Arkansas. His boyhood home was at Dyess Colony, a government collective built to pull Depression-era families out of poverty. This is where he began singing at the age of five as he picked cotton with his family.
California: The Playboy Mansion
It was neck and neck between the Hearst Castle, the estate built by William Randolph Hearst along California’s Central Coast, and Playboy Mansion, the late Hugh Hefner’s residence and playhouse in L.A.’s Holmby Hills. But the infamous Grotto (the famous pool-in-a-cave that saw a great deal of debauchery in its day) gave the Playboy Mansion the edge.
Colorado: Molly Brown’s house
The Unsinkable Molly Brown survived her ride on the Titanic, but her Victorian mansion in Denver was about to go down for good (it was scheduled for demolition) when in 1970, the concerned citizens of Historic Denver, Inc. raised the money to restore the house to its former glory and develop a museum that tells the tale of the house, which was built 20 years before the Titanic set sail, and the woman who returned to it after the harrowing shipwreck.
Connecticut: The Glass House
Philip Johnson designed this famous house, known as the “Glass House,” located in New Canaan, Connecticut. Declared a national historic landmark in 1997, the Glass House is known for its minimalism, proportion, and the way it plays with transparency and reflection. It’s available for tours, although not in the winter.
Delaware: Nemours Estate
The Nemours Estate was owned and developed by Alfred I. duPont (1864 to 1935), a prominent member of one of Delaware’s historically most prominent families. The 77-room mansion boasts the largest formal French gardens in North America, a garage housing a collection of vintage automobiles. and nearly 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows, and lawns.
Florida: Ernest Hemingway House
This is the house where Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West, Florida and where he wrote A Farewell to Arms. Built in 1851, the house became one of Key West’s first homes to have indoor plumbing. It’s a national landmark now populated by descendants of Hemingway’s famous many-toed cats. Check out Key West in the winter, when it’s one of the least-crowded vacation destinations in the United States.
Georgia: Birth home of Martin Luther King, Jr.
This house on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta is the birth home of Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the civil rights’ movements most important leaders, and it’s where King lived for the first 12 years of his life. Don’t miss these 14 rarely seen photos of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hawaii: Iolani Palace
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Located in Honolulu, Iolani Palace was built by Hawaii’s King Kalakaua in 1882. It’s considered “a marvel of opulence, innovation, and political intrigue” and is a spectacular example of Hawaii’s Polynesian heritage and culture.
Idaho: The former Idaho State Penitentiary
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The most famous house in Idaho is the “big house” that housed some of the Wild West’s most desperate criminals. Located in Boise, the Idaho State Penitentiary, which opened in 1872 and closed in 1973 due to deterioration and unlivable living conditions. Find out about the most notorious criminals from each state.
Illinois: The “Home Alone” house
Remember that time when the McCallisters went on vacation and accidentally left Kevin behind? Wait a sec. Wasn’t that fictional? Well, the Georgian mansion in Winnetka in which Kevin outwitted two would-be burglars is actually quite real. In 2012, it was sold for $1.585 million.
Indiana: Culbertson Mansion
William Culbertson, born in 1814 in Pennsylvania, moved to Indiana at 21 to make his fortune. And make a fortune, he did. Culbertson became one of the richest men in Indiana, and his mansion in New Albany exemplifies his opulent lifestyle and the tastes and ideals of the late 1800s. Having worked his way up from dry goods clerk to investor, Culbertson put much of his money into New Albany and was deeply devoted to civic affairs. The State of Indiana took ownership of the mansion in 1976, restoring it to its former greatness.
Iowa: The American Gothic House
The artist, Grant Wood, became inspired to paint the iconic American Gothic (the farmer with the pitchfork who is standing next to a younger farm woman who many thought was the farmer’s wife but turned out to be the farmer’s daughter) in 1913 when he saw this 1880s house in Eldon. The house is also known as “Dibble House.” Check out these 15 fascinating facts about America that you never learned in school.
Kansas: Amelia Earhart’s birthplace
The first woman to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean was Amelia Earhart, who began her life in Atchison in this house, which is now open as a museum. Born July 24, 1897, the daughter of a railroad attorney, Earhart spent most of her childhood in Kansas and Iowa. She made her epic trans-Atlantic flight in 1928, a decade before she disappeared trying to fly around the world.
Kentucky: Mary Todd Lincoln’s house
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Mary Todd Lincoln, born in 1818, lived in upper-class opulence in this grand house for 20 years until she moved to Illinois and married the attorney, Abraham Lincoln, who would one day become the 16th President of the United States. The two met in Springfield, Ilinois, where Mary was visiting an older sister. In 1942, Mary traded her life of privilege for that of a middle-class wife, and the rest, as they say, is history. Don’t believe the hype: none of these presidential “facts” are actually true.
Louisiana: Oak Valley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation, located in St. James Parish, in the community of Vacherie, was named for its double row of southern oak trees that were planted in the early 1700s, long before the house, itself, was built. Known for its architecture and landscaping, some of the most notable of which was performed in the mid-1800s by an enslaved gardener, the property has been designated a national historic landmark.
Maine: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house
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The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, which is now owned by Bowdoin College, was the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe and her family from 1850 to 1852. In the years that she lived there, Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin and sheltered John Andrew Jackson, a fugitive slave from South Carolina. The building is a national historic landmark and an Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.
Maryland: Mount Clare
“Mount Clare is a 1760 colonial Georgian home built by one of Maryland’s leading patriots and one of our first state senators, Charles Carroll, Barrister, a distant cousin of the Declaration of Independence signer, Charles Carroll of Carrollton,” according to the Mount Clare Museum. The center of Georgia Plantation, described as a “self-sufficient plantation with a diverse community,” Mount Clare was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
Massachusetts: Lizzie Borden’s house
Lizzie Borden, whom a nursery rhyme insists killed her parents with an ax, was actually acquitted of murder. The house where Lizzie lived with her parents—the house where the gruesome killings took place—is in Fall River, and is a huge tourist attraction, in part because no one really knows if (or why) Lizzie Borden took that ax. Find out about the strangest unsolved mystery of every state.
Michigan: The Ford House
The Eleanor and Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe is the home of one of America’s most prominent families. The Fords were cultural, social, and economic leaders, and although they owned more than one house, this one, along the shores of St. Claire, was their final residence and the one they truly thought of as home.
Minnesota: Paisley Park
Located in Chanhassen, Paisley Park was the home of musical artist and star, Prince. Paisley Park is not only where Prince lived, but it’s also where he produced music. And sadly, it’s where the multi-Grammy winner died of an overdose in 2016. The home is open to the public for tours, though you must buy tickets online in advance.
Mississippi: Elvis Presley’s birthplace
When you think of Elvis, you probably think of Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. But the two-room home where Elvis was born and raised in Tupelo is famous in its own right. Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, to Vernon and Gladys Presley (as a twin; his brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn), and he lived here, in the home which was built by Elvis’s father, grandfather, and uncle, for only a few years before his family had to move out due to lack of payment.
Missouri: Mark Twain’s boyhood home
Mark Twain’s boyhood home and its white picket fence inspired at least one episode of the novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. A Hannibal museum since 1912, it’s been a landmark since 1962 and is located within Missouri’s Mark Twain Historic District.
Montana: Moss Mansion
If the Moss Mansion in Billings looks vaguely familiar, it could be because it was designed for the Moss family by the same architect who designed the iconic New York hotels, the Plaza and the Waldorf Astoria. It’s also been featured on the silver screen in several films, including Son of the Morning Star and Return to Lonesome Dove. These are the most iconic movies set in every state.
Nebraska: Buffalo Bill’s farmhouse
“Hunting and killing over 4,000 buffalo earned Buffalo Bill Cody his nickname,” according to Biography, “and his status as an Old West legend was cemented with his traveling Wild West show.” Built in 1886 at a cost of less than $4,000, the farm and house where Buffalo Bill lived near North Platte has been restored and is open as a museum and state park.
Nevada: Governor’s Mansion
The Nevada Governor’s Mansion earns its place as the most famous house in Nevada because it’s not only an incredibly elegant example of Classical Revival architecture but also the home of several ghosts, including one former Nevada governor…or so we hear. Don’t miss the spookiest ghost story from every state.
New Hampshire: Castle in the Clouds
Built high in the Ossipee Mountain Range in the 1910s, Tom and Olive Plant’s mountaintop estate has come to be known as Castle in the Clouds. It is a rare example of the Arts and Crafts architectural movement in New England and the view from the grounds alone is worth the trip.
New Jersey: Walt Whitman’s house
The poet and author of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman lived in this two-story wood frame rowhouse in Camden from 1884 until his death in 1892. Whitman, who once called America the “greatest poem,” has been called The Great American Poet.
New Mexico: Kit Carson’s home
Kit Carson, born Christopher Houston Carson, was a famous icon of the American West. Born in Kentucky in 1809 and raised on the Missouri frontier, Carson became an experienced hunter and trapper by his 20s, and after meeting the explorer John C. Frémont in 1842, became one of the most active participants in extending the boundaries of the United States to where it is today. This was where Carson lived and ranched in New Mexico, which was as far west as Carson got, according to Biography.
New York: Gracie Mansion
If you’ve never been to New York City’s Upper East Side, and in particular, Yorkville (the neighborhood in the East 80s that is closest to the East River), it may be surprising to learn that this bucolic mansion is located right in Manhattan adjacent to Carl Schurz Park, a popular playground and dog run. Built in 1799, Gracie Mansion been renovated and added-onto at various points in history and is known to be a place where history is made, rather than simply recorded.
North Carolina: Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, a French Rennaissance castle, is America’s largest residential home. Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895 as a grand Blue Ridge Mountain retreat for his family, it stands on 8,000 acres and has at least 250 rooms. Its grounds were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead (of New York City’s Central Park-fame). The home and gardens are open for tours.
North Dakota: Lawrence Welk’s birthplace
Bandleader Lawrence Welk was born into poverty in 1903 in this house on the rural outskirts of Strasburg. The sixth of nine children, he sold himself into “slavery” to his father to pay for his first accordion. He left home at 21, made his television debut in 1955 (and was the host of the Lawrence Welk Show from 1955 until 1982), and never looked back. Although Welk disliked his birthplace, the state of North Dakota considers Welk one of its “favorite sons.”
Ohio: The A Christmas Story house
Ralphie Parker is fictional, but the house where he lived in with his family in Cleveland is real and located on W. 11th Street. Superfan Brian Jones bought the house in 2005 and renovated it to look exactly as it did in the movie. In 2006, A Christmas Story House opened as a museum for costumes and the props actually used during production. Here are 9 more things you never knew about the iconic holiday film, A Christmas Story.
Oklahoma: The Marland Mansion
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“The Marland Mansion exudes the extravagant lifestyle that could only be afforded by E.W. Marland, the legendary founder of Marland Oil, who once owned a tenth of the oil reserves in the world,” explains TravelOK. “Inspired by Florence, Italy’s Palazzo Davanzati, the Marland Mansion is like no other structure on the Oklahoma plains.” Built a century ago, it’s known not just for its architecture but for its collection of sculptures, including limestone sculptures of the Marland family.
Oregon: The Hughes House
Built in 1898, the Patrick and Jane Hughes House in Curry County is a significant survivor of a large, prosperous ranch and dairy business operated by Irish immigrant, Patrick Hughes, and his family, according to the Oregon Encyclopedia. It’s considered the best preserved, largely unaltered, late 19th-century house in the county.
Located in the mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania in Mill Run, is Fallingwater, a Franklin Lloyd Wright-designed house dating back to 1935. It was originally a private home for Pittsburgh department store owner, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., and his family. It’s one of Wright’s most widely acclaimed works and is said to exemplify his philosophy of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature. Open now as a museum, Fallingwater is the only major Wright work that’s open to the public with its setting, original furnishings, and artwork intact.
Rhode Island: The Breakers
Newport is famous for its oceanside mansions, but the most famous, by far, is The Breakers, the mansion built as the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Built in an architectural style reminiscent of Italian Rennaissance, the 70-room mansion comprises 125,339 square feet and is a national historic landmark. It’s open to the public for tours. Don’t miss the most historical hotel in every state.
South Carolina: The John Joyner Smith House
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Originally built for John Joyner Smith around 1813, this house is considered one of the leading examples of the Federal architectural style, and it has the distinction of having been occupied by Union Troops during the Civil War.
South Dakota: The Summer White House
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When President Calvin Coolidge announced he wanted a summer away from Washington, D.C. and its bugs, crowds, and humid air that irritated his bronchitis, the nation competed to get his attention. The place that won out was the Black Hills of South Dakota. President Coolidge spent several months here in a Game Lodge and the area became known as “the Summer White House of 1927.”
Graceland wasn’t built by Elvis Presley, although it’s most famous for being his home from the time he was 22 years old. Once part of a 500-acre farm that was owned by the S.E. Toof family, Elvis purchased the home and grounds for just over $100,000 in the spring of 1957. Although Elvis was frequently on the road and had other homes in the Los Angeles area, Graceland in Memphis was always Elvis’s true home.
Texas: Yates House
The Yates House was built by Reverend John Henry Yates, an emancipated slave who later served as the minister for Antioch Baptist Church, founder of Bethel Baptist Church, and organizer of the Houston Academy in 1894. “Construction of this house a mere five years after Emancipation illustrates the indomitable spirit of a formerly enslaved population that was transitioning into a free society in Houston,” according to the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park in Houston.
Utah: The Beehive House
Built in 1854, the Beehive House was home to Brigham Young and other leaders of the Church of Latter-day Saints and also served as offices for the Church for many years, according to the Temple Square website. “The beehive motif was placed atop the structure to symbolize the strong sense of community and diligent work ethic of the Latter-day Saints called to settle the West,” shares the website. A little less famous, but equally important, is the nearby Lion House, which was home to many of Young’s wives (he is thought to have had at least 40) and children.
Vermont: Robert Frost’s house in Shaftsbury
Another great American poet, Frost moved to Vermont from New Hampshire in 1920 “to seek a better place to farm and especially grow apples.” This farmhouse in Shaftsbury is where he wrote many of his famous poems and where he lived until his death in 1963.
Virginia: Mt. Vernon
George Washington slept here. Really. In fact, Mt. Vernon, located on the banks of the Potomac River, was our first president’s family estate, which he expanded from 2,000 acres to 8,000. Here are 11 additional surprising facts about George Washington that you never learned in school.
Washington: Kurt Cobain’s house
This was the Seattle house where Kurt Cobain lived with his wife, Courtney Love. The house was built in 1902 and is quite modest, according to RoadTrippers, reflecting Cobain’s values despite his rock star status. It’s also the place where Kurt spent the last minutes of his life.
West Virginia: Lockwood House
The Lockwood House, built in 1848, served numerous purposes during the Civil War, including as a makeshift hospital for Union soldiers after the Battle of Harper’s Ferry, but most notably, it became a school for former slaves. In addition, some of the walls contain unique graffiti from the Civil War era, which conservationists are seeking to preserve.
Wisconsin: Birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pepin, Wisconsin is the birthplace (reconstructed) of the beloved children’s author Laura Ingalls Wilder. At the museum devoted to Wilder (born Laura Ingalls in 1867), you can see a reconstructed interior of the three-room log cabin where the author was born and lived with her family. The cabin was Wilder’s inspiration for Little House in the Big Woods, the first in the Little House series, of which Little House on the Prairie is one of the 100 books everyone needs to read before they die.
Wyoming: Fossil Cabin
Starting in about 1915, Thomas Boylan began collecting the 5,796 dinosaur bones from nearby Como Bluff that he’d eventually use to build this cabin, dubbed the Fossil Cabin and later used as a museum. The structure was completed in 1932 and is considered Wyoming’s “oldest” house. Next, read on for the most famous landmark in every state.