Nemours Estate is the 300-acre estate of the late industrialist, financier and philanthropist Alfred I. du Pont (1864-1935). He rose to wealth and fame through his work in his family’s Delaware-based gunpowder manufacturing plant, at that time E.I. du Pont Nemours Co., formed in 1802 in Wilmington, Delaware. Today, the company is commonly known as DuPont and was formed by the merger of Dow Chemical Company and DuPont on August 31, 2017.
Within 18 months of the merger the company was split into three publicly traded companies with focuses on agriculture, materials science, and specialty products. The merger has been reported to be worth an estimated $130 billion.
DuPont is depicted in the movie released in November of this year: Dark Waters. The movie, according to NPR, follows the real-life legal battle by Robert Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo) “against DuPont over the release of a toxic chemical into Parkersburg, West Virginia’s water supply, affecting 70,000 townspeople and hundreds of livestock.”
After an acrimonious departure from the family business and a brief decline in his personal fortunes, Alfred I. du Pont embarked on his own business: land investment and banking in Florida.
Alfred built the mansion on 3,000 acres in Wilmington for his second wife, Alicia, who he married in 1907. Designed in the 18th-century French style, he named it Nemours after the French town that his great-great-grandfather represented in the French Estates General. The original mansion included the latest technology and many of Alfred’s own inventions; today it has 77 rooms.
The grounds boast the largest formal French gardens in North America. I strolled around the 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows and lawns on a warm and sultry June day.
At the far end of the Long Walk, lined with Japanese cryptomeria, pink flowering horse chestnuts and pin oaks, I found a large reflecting pool. The pool holds 800,000 gallons of water and takes three days to fill.
Around the pool are Art Nouveau-style classical mythological statues representing the Four Seasons. They are by French-born American sculptor Henri Crenier (1873-1948).
By the time I left Nemours Estate, it was after 2:00 and had started sprinkling. I was famished, so I stopped at Hollywood Grill where I had an apple, walnut, romaine, tomato, cucumber, and blue cheese salad topped with shrimp.
After my late lunch, I began my drive back home, welcomed by Maryland at 3:30, driving past Rising Sun and Cecil College, over the Susquehanna River, past Gunpowder Falls and through the Baltimore Tunnel, while Bob Dylan serenaded me with “Ballad of a Thin Man.” I didn’t cross back into Virginia until 5:40, exhausted from a full day of wandering through New Castle, Swede’s Church and Nemours Estate.
*Steps: 9,804, 4.15 miles*
*Thursday, June 6, 2019*
“PHOTOGRAPHY” INVITATION: I invite you to create a photography intention and then create a blog post for a place you have visited. Alternately, you can post a thematic post about a place, photos of whatever you discovered that set your heart afire. You can also do a thematic post of something you have found throughout all your travels: churches, doors, people reading, people hiking, mountains, patterns, all black & white, whatever!
In my case, my intention was to look for thematic possibilities during my trip to Delaware. As Nemours Estate is so beautiful both inside and out, I thought I’d focus on the grounds and interior.
You probably have your own ideas about this, but in case you’d like some ideas, you can visit my page: photography inspiration.
I challenge you to post as photos and to write less than 1,500 words about any travel-related photography intention you set for yourself. Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, December 11 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, December 12, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation, every first, second, and third (& 5th, if there is one) Thursday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!
the ~ wander.essence ~ community
I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community. I promise, you’ll be inspired!
- Jude, of life at the edge, takes us on a colorful stroll along the harbor quay in Cornwall.
- Jo, of Restless Jo, posted some atmospheric photos of trees rising out of a mist and raindrops on berries.
Thanks to all of you who shared posts on the “photography” invitation.
To understate, an extraordinary place. I appreciate your telling something of the story of the people and then showing us the estate.
Lunch looks great!
It’s over the top, but aren’t all these mansions by the wealthy barons of America (and Europe)? And that lunch was delicious. I always love shrimp! 🙂
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I presume this is the du Pont of the du Pont paint company? All I know of them is that they put the bar up on Cuba having any paint after Castro’s revolution. I visited the du Pont house when I was in Cuba, an equally amazing building, and it was then being used for “coming of age” parties and educational award ceremonies.
I’m not familiar with DuPont paints in particular, but it is a chemical company so I’m sure it’s involved in just about everything. Interesting tidbit about Cuba and DuPont. I bet in Cuba, the DuPont house was magnificent. Do you have a post about it? If so, I’d love to see it.
Just a modest little pile to woo his wife with! Strangely, this is one of two posts in my feed tonight about Nemours, and I’d never heard of it before.
Haha, yes, so modest. He moved out when his 2nd wife died and he remarried for the third time. That was when he went to Florida and left the company. You went to Winterthur, I remember. It’s not too far from Nemours.
That must be somebody else, I haven’t been there.
Sorry, Anabel, I was confused. I just cleaned out a bunch of my emails and found you had responded to a post or two on my old blog, but it turned out they were different places; I think one was the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA??
Oh yes, definitely been there!
OK. Sorry I never responded to your comment about it. It’s not that difficult to do; I just have to sign out of this blog and into that one, but I always put it off! 🙂
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How European it is. Are there many grand places like this in America? Who maintains it now? You’ve done it proud with your photos and history.
It is certainly European, Meg, and in fact it’s modeled in the 18th-century French style. There are many places like these in America; one is the nearby DuPont mansion, Winterthur. I wrote about it here: https://catbirdinamerica.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/winterthur-museum-garden-library-a-delaware-country-estate/
There is also Hearst Castle at San Simeon: https://catbirdinamerica.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/hearst-castle-at-san-simeon/
And many more I haven’t seen myself. As for Nemours, it’s maintained by the Nemours Foundation, which also runs Alfred I. duPont Institute, a pediatric orthopedic hospital in Wilmington, DE.
Ah, to be transported so, and to think that there’s this splendid French mansion just a couple of hours away from us is great. I am going to keep this one in our list of local travels! Thanks Cathy. Beautiful photos, especially the one of the clouds billowing above the cherubs.
Thanks so much. I’m so glad I was there on a sunny and beautiful day (though hot). That definitely helps in photography. Maybe you can visit Nemours, as well as the other DuPont mansion, Wintherthur, one of these days. I think there might be a couple of other great houses in that area as well. 🙂
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I will look them up. Certainly feels good to discover the presence of these places. Cheers! 🙂
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For me it is hard to get past the underlying industrial barons who made their money via monopolies and exploitation. The preservation of the beautiful gardens that offer serenity to nature seekers in our busy world is a good thing.
I know; and with all the current news about corporations and how they own our country in every way, including politics, these days it’s hard to have much respect for corporations and the corporate greed that is so endemic.
I enjoy visiting these places and am always impressed by the employment opportunities they must create.
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