Excesses of the Rich and Wealthy Alfred Krupp

About the excesses of the rich Alfred Krupp, biography and history of his extravagent spending.


ALFRED KRUPP (1812-1887)

Alfred Krupp, the German munitions giant, was the second in a line which the world would come to know as the "merchants of death." Krupp was not an extravagant spender in the usual sense, but like William Randolph Hearst he had a driving ambition: to immortalize himself by building a great house. Not a mere house, in fact, but a palace, a castle. Krupp himself spent five years designing it, and he built it close to his beloved foundry. What emerged was the Villa Hugel, a perfectly hideous, uncomfortable mansion whose facade sprouted grotesque gargoyles and other weird sculptures.

William Manchester, author of the major book on the Krupps, once attempted to count the rooms in the Villa Hugel, since no reliable estimate existed. Give or take a few secret passages, he counted 300.

Perhaps the one charming aspect of Krupp's creation grew out of his wish to be surrounded by tees. Since the site for the villa stood on a bare hill overlooking a river, Krupp took dramatic measures. As Alan Jenkins wrote in The Rich Rich: "Being nearly 60 he could not wait for the saplings to grow. So, many years before tree surgery became a profession, he transplanted a forest of full-grown trees; and such was the force of his will that they budded in their first spring."

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