Cornelius Vanderbilt

Timeline created by Kapp
In History
  • Birth

    Vanderbilt is born into a poor family in Staten Island, New York.
  • Family Life

    Family Life
    Vanderbilt married his first cousin, Sophia Johnson. Vanderbilts parents did not agree with his decisions. They went on to have 13 children, with only 11 making it to adulthood. As good as a businessman he was he was a terrible husband and father. He paid little atention to his daughts and wished for more sons. He had a reputation for cheating on his wife also.
  • Career Begining

    Career Begining
    In the late 1820s, Vanderbilt went into business on his own. At 16 years old he began building steamships and operating ferry lines the New York region. He competed with many rival shipping companies. With Vanderbilt's ruthless attitude he gained many enemies along the way.
  • Ruling the steamboat industry

    Ruling the steamboat industry
    Eventually, his steamboat business controlled most of the Hudson River. He was operating with a fleet of around 100 steamboats. At this point, he also was controlling the real estate business. He had bought many large estates in Manhattan and Staten Island.
  • Vanderbilt's Railroads

    Vanderbilt's Railroads
    In the 1860s, Vanderbilts shifted businesses from the ocean to inland America. He entered the railroad industry at just the right time because the U.S. was hitting a time of great expansion. He purchases many different railroad systems and also created new ones and then went on to connect them. He made one huge, smoothly working railroad.
  • Civil War

    Civil War
    When the Civil War began Vanderbilt was the king of American shipping. Vanderbilt tried to donate his largest ship, the Vanderbilt, to the navy for the Union army. The Navy rejected the offer as they figured it would be a short war, so Vanderbilt leased his ship to the War Department.
  • New York-Harlem line

    New York-Harlem line
    The Harlem line in New York was one of the first railroads in the United States. The Harlem ran through the Grand Central Depot. This was one of Vanderbilt's most important lines.
  • How Vanderbilt affect the nation with trains

    How Vanderbilt affect the nation with trains
    Vanderbilt helped expand the idea of westward expansion. He made it easy and more efficient to move goods from place to place. Also having the rails for travel was a ton easier. Since it only took a week to get across the country moving locations was simple. With the railroads, businesses grew rapidly because ease of distributing goods across the country. This is how Vanderbilt's rails affect the whole United States.
  • Expansion of Vanderbilt's Railroads

    Expansion of Vanderbilt's Railroads
    Vanderbilt acquired the Central railroad and merged it with the other railroads he already owned. Over the next decade, he extended his empire, by acquiring the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway.
  • Grand Central Depot

    Grand Central Depot
    Grand Central Depot was told and paid to be built by Cornelius Vanderbilt. The depot was built on the Harlem and was the largest building of New York in its time. This was a show of Vanderbilt's power and wealth.
  • Vanderbilt Overview

    Vanderbilt Overview
    Vanderbilt was a self-made man. During the 19th century, he was one of the richest men. He got this rich by controlling rivers and steamboats as a young man, then later on in his life he bought railroads and controlled those for years. When he died he was worth more than 100 million dollars
  • Death

    When Vanderbilt died he was at his estate. He had been cooped up in his room for about eight months, and his cause of death was exhaustion from many different disorders. Vanderbilt was 82 when he died.
  • Legacy

    Vanderbilt left his children lots and lots of wealth to play with and his favorites were evident. He left the most to William as he felt William was the only son capable of maintaining his empire.
  • Lake Erie and Western lines

    Lake Erie and Western lines
    A line that occupied Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. When Vanderbilt tried to buy out this line he was duped by Fisk and Gould and as a result lost nearly nine million dollars.
  • Biltmore Estate

    Biltmore Estate
    The Biltmore estate, the main residence is a Châteauesque-style mansion built by Vanderbilt. It is the largest privately owned mansion in the United States. It is 178,926 square feet.
  • Period: to

    Cornelius Vanderbilt