LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Biltmore Estate in Asheville was one of the great mansions of the late nineteenth century. Image source.

“Gilded” means “covered with gold,” and for some, the late nineteenth century truly was a gilded age. Industrialists accumulated wealth at an incredible rate and often spent it in elaborate ways. The growing urban middle class also had money to spend, on new consumer items, new forms of entertainment, and travel. In this chapter we’ll explore some of the ways North Carolinians participated in the changing culture of the Gilded Age.