Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Historical Home Wednesday - Six

This afternoon I have chosen to make Historical Home Wednesday on the Nemours Mansion. Oh my goodness. This is truly a magnificent estate. The Nemours Mansion makes my top 10 favorite homes in the United States. Not only is the mansion itself incredible but the gardens and ground that surround it are just as amazing. Once you finish reading my post you'll know what I'm talking about.

The Nemours Mansion was created by Alfred du Pont in 1909. He got the name "Nemours" from his great-great-great grandfather, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, a French nobleman, writer, economist, and government official. Pierre was also the father of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, founder of E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company. E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company, commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company founded in 1802. They specialize in gun powder and is currently the world's second largest chemical company in the world.

Dupont Gunpowder Wagon

Eleuthere Irenee du Pont had fled France with his family to United States during the French Revolution. In 1802, he used capital raised by importing gunpowder machinery from France. He started his company only two years after he migrated to Delaware and started a mill, Eleutherian Mills, where he manufactured gunpowder. He noticed a market of gunpowder in North America and quickly became successful after marketing to the U.S. military. He became extremely wealthy during the Civil War by supplying large amounts of gunpowder to the Union Army. Yes, my Southern friends, he helped the Yankees. What can I say, he's French. Today the Eleutherian Mills is considered a National Historic Landmark and can be visited by the public.

Photo of E.I. duPont founder of DuPont company

Alfred DuPont was the middle child and first male of five children to Eleuthere Irenee du Pont II and Charlotte Shepard Henderson. His father was the son of the infamous Eleuthere Irenee du Pont who founded the family's gunpowder company. Alfred often accompanied his father to the mill and on business trips. At age 13, both parents became ill and died within a month of each other. When the relatives planned on splitting Albert and his siblings up the children refused and armed themselves with guns, axes, and rolling pins. Their relatives agreed not to split them up but sent them off to boarding school instead.

Photo of Alfred DuPont

Alfred studied mathematics, chemistry, shopwork, and German. He was an excellent boxer and became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at MIT. In 1884, he went into the family's business of manufacturing gunpowder. He started in the lowest postion and eventually worked himself up as the nation's top powder men. He himself registered over 200 patents for the company.

Alfred married Bessie Gardner in 1887. They had four children. They traveled to Europe a lot at the request of the U.S. Amy's request. He was eventually promoted to the assistant superintendent of the Hagley and Lower Yards. In 1902, upon the death of Eugene du Pont (President). Alfred was proposed that he become the chairman, but the other directors considered him too young (he was 38) and inexperienced. In fear of the company being sold Alfred enlisted his cousins for help. They had no cash, but surrendered their shares to reorganize the company. The young men were able to save the company.

I'm not sure why but Alfred divorced his first wife, Bessie, in 1906, and married Mary (Alicia) Heyward Bradford, the following year. As if that wasn't scandalous enough, she was his second cousin and a divorcee with a child whose husband worked at the factory. Most of the family frowned at his behavior and fell out of their good graces. Alfred and Alicia had three children but only one survived infancy.

Alfred ignored the criticism and gossip and catered to his new bride. He built her an outstanding new home in 1910. It built upon 300 acres in Wilmington, Delaware, five story mansion, 77 rooms, 47,000 sq ft, with a huge library. The estate was named Nemours Mansion.

Can you imagine entertaining in this house? It's more like a museum than a house.

I would love to get my hands on this car. Oh, what a wonderful vintage Rolls Royce. I'm going to have to go with late 20's or early 30's. I'm not positive but by the grill and headlights I know it can't be earlier than 1925. One thing I know for sure, it's a beautiful car.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my love for Historical Home Wednesday.

1 comment:

paula said...
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