When George Vanderbilt purchased 125,000 acres near Asheville to build his home, Biltmore, he also hired landscape architects and forestry experts to restore land that had been eroded and poorly harvested. He hired the well-known forester Gilford Pinchot to implement sound forestry practices. When Pinchot left to head the U.S. Forest Service in 1895, Vanderbilt replaced him with Carl Schenck, a forester from Germany. Schenck founded the Biltmore Forest School in 1898, the first forestry school in the nation. During the school's fifteen years of operation, 350 foresters from all over the country graduated. What they learned and later practiced in their home areas laid the foundations for forest management practices that we take for granted today. The school and 6,500 acres surrounding it were designated a national historic site in 1976.