Nemours Mansion and Gardens

Wilmington, Delaware

Award Type: Honor Award

Built between 1909 and 1910 by DuPont Chemical Company founder Alfred I. duPont, the 102-room Nemours chateau is a bit of Versailles in Delaware’s historic Brandywine Valley.  The Beaux Arts mansion, named for the family’s ancestral home in France, has all the hallmarks of a glittering palace.  The home’s gilded rooms are furnished with fine period antiques, rare tapestries and paintings dating to the 15th century, and the beautifully landscaped French gardens feature a carillon tower and natural woodlands.

In 2004, the Nemours Foundation launched a massive campaign to return the estate to its original grandeur. In the mansion, deteriorated features from basement to roof were repaired or replaced, energy-efficient heating, cooling and security systems unobtrusively installed, historic finishes researched and re-created, and original furnishings and artworks conserved. Outdoors, water features, plantings and paving were repaired and re-installed, sculptures were cleaned – and, in one case, brilliantly re-gilded. Every element of the estate – from ironwork to awnings – has been meticulously restored. The $27.5 million project was completed in 2008.

“The restoration of Nemours is a triumph,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “In its second century, Nemours stunningly evokes a vivid chapter in the American story and showcases the scholarship and artistry of historic preservation at its very best.”