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Places to Visit
City of Wilmington
Rodney Square – In 1920’s the Dupont Company oversaw development of Rodney Square, named after Caesar Rodney, in the center of Wilmington as a civic center. Old New Castle County Courthouse was demolished, a park created in its place, and monumental new buildings constructed around it. These changes, including the construction of the Hotel du Pont, reflected the growing international, commercial and industrial stature of the City. The Caesar Rodney statue is the centerpiece.
Location: Rodney Square is in Downtown Wilmington
Hotel du Pont – Built in 1913, on Rodney Square as part of the duPont Company headquarters, the landmark hotel was conceived by Pierre S. du Pont. With its elegant old world lobby, opulent Gold Ballroom and ornate Green Room, it is considered one of the finest examples of European craftsmanship in N. America. It incorporates the du Pont Theatre presenting Broadway shows and paintings by world-renowned Brandywine artists. Received AAA Four Diamond Award.
Location: The duPont Hotel is at 11th and Market Streets. There is also an entrance on Rodney Square for both the Hotel and the du Pont Theatre.
Delaware History Museum – Delaware has a rich history, but clearly the du Pont family has had the greatest influence of the past two centuries. At one display, the museum tells how P.S. Dupont led the development of the world’s first divided highway. On industry, the start of the DuPont Company is highlighted along with the work of the DuPont scientist who discovered Gore- Tex. The museum is a great stop for anyone interested in the history of the du Pont’s, the nation and Delaware.
Location: Downtown Wilmington, 505 Market Street, from the byway on 11th Street at the Hotel Dupont drive or walk 6 blocks south on Market Street.
Delaware Art Museum – Founded in 1912 with the help of Louisa du Pont Copeland to preserve and exhibit the works of Howard Pyle. Samuel Bancroft, a textile mill industrialist donated land in 1935 for a new museum and his collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, now the largest collection in the U.S. The museum also has numerous works by Brandywine Valley artists including famous illustrator N.C. Wyeth.
Location: The Delaware Art Museum is just off Route 52 at the intersection of Bancroft Parkway and Kentmere Parkway. Heading North on Route 52, Bancroft Parkway is just past the granite railroad trestle at Union St. From Route 52 turn right onto tree lined Bancroft Parkway which leads to the national register listed Kentmere Parkway designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.
Gibraltar Mansion and Gardens – Preservationists and horticulturists, Hugh Rodney Sharp and his wife Isabella du Pont Sharp purchased Gibraltar in 1909 and built the du Pont mansion of today. It incorporates an exquisite historic formal garden featuring a pavilion, statuary, and plants collected from trips abroad. One of America’s best known female landscape architects, Marion Cruger Coffin, designed the restored garden, as well as the formal garden at Winterthur.
Location: Gibralter is located at the corner of Route 52 and Greenhill Avenue. The entrance is on Greenhill Ave.
Goodstay House and Gardens – The property was the home of Ellen du Pont Wheelwright and her landscape architect husband Robert, who created a serene horticultural gem featuring a reflecting pool, magnolia walk and boxwood-lined garden rooms and a natural woodland garden with a stream. “It was such a garden as you will hardly find outside of a story book…bloom and beauty, air filled with the odor of growing things, birds singing in shady trees.” said artist Howard Pyle in 1850.
Location: The Goodstay House and Gardens are directly across the street from Gibraltar on Route 52. The house is now a University of Delaware facility. The Gardens are behind the House (built in 1740).
New Castle County
Hagley Museum and Library – The Birthplace of the Dupont Co. Hagley is where the du Pont industrial story began in 1850 and a whole chapter in American history comes alive. Visit the first du Pont home, Eleutherian Mills and gardens at this stunning National Park Service site on the riverside. Take a stroll and view live demonstrations of early industrial community life. Just outside Hagley is picturesque Henry Clay Village and the Delaware Toy and Miniature Museum.
Location: Hagley Museum and Library is just of Route 52 on Route 100/141. Turn right onto Route 100/141 at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church (built by the duPont family in the mid 1800’s), go a few hundred feet to the Hagley entrance on the left.
Nemours Mansion and Gardens – Nemours is the 300-acre estate of Alfred I. du Pont, Chairman of the DuPont Co. in the 20th century. The modified Louis XVI French chateau, built in 1910 contains 102 rooms filled with a treasure trove of fine European and American furniture, rare rugs, tapestries, and art. The garden is one of the finest examples of French-style gardens in America exquisitely landscaped with fountains, pools and statuary surrounded by woodlands. Beginning January 1st, 2005, the Nemours Mansion and Gardens will be undergoing major renovations and restorations. This project will take approximately two years. Reservations are highly recommended for individuals and required for groups.
Location: Nemours is located on Route 141 and Rockland Road, five minutes from Hagley Museum. Past the Hagley entrance on Route 141, go over the bridge and turn left at the light onto Powder Mill Rd (Route 141), go to the second traffic light, turn right on Childrens Drive. Turn left at next light onto Rockland Rd. Nemours is on the right.
Inn at Montchanin Village – The historic Inn at Montchanin Village was established as a settlement for laborers who worked at nearby DuPont powder Mills. The hamlet and rail station, lovingly restored by du Pont family members is on the National Register of Historic Places. A first class accommodation experience, it provides a unique setting of cottage guest rooms, a stylish restaurant, and conference center. It is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Location: At the intersection of Route 52 and 100 take 100 north for 1.3 miles. The Inn at Montchanin is on the right at the intersection of Route 100 and Rockland Road.
Brandywine Creek State Park – This 933-acre retreat was once a dairy farm owned by the du Pont family. A Piedmont paradise and naturalist’s dream is found at Brandywine Creek Park. It became a state park in 1965, one of the first in the nation to be purchased with Land and Water Conservation Funds. The park offers some of the Brandywine Valley’s best views, bird watching, nature preserves, and 14 miles of trails through woodlands, meadows, and stream banks.
Location: The main entrance is on Adams Dam Road just off of Route 100. At the intersection of Route 52 and 100 take Route 100 north to Adams Dam Road. Turn right on Adams Dam Road. The park main entrance is on the left.
Delaware Museum of Natural History – The Delaware Museum of Natural History was created by John du Pont, who sought to promote wildlife protection through educational and interpretive exhibits. The collections include over 117,000 bird specimens, the second largest collection of birds’ eggs in America, and one of the top ten shell collections in the U.S. Museum highlights include an African watering hole, a Great Barrier Reef exhibit, and life-sized dinosaur skeletons. Location: 4840 Kennett Pike (Route 52). The museum is between Greenville and Centreville and across the street from Winterthur.
Winterthur, An American Country Estate – Explore America’s heritage at world famous Winterthur to experience the enormity of the du Pont wealth. Henry Francis du Pont transformed his boyhood home into a 175-room, 7-story mansion to display the world’s foremost collection of American furniture and decorative arts. Mr. du Pont gardened on a grand scale. The 979-acre estate is a masterfully designed naturalistic landscape, garden and ‘Enchanted Woods’ children’s garden.
Location: Route 52 at the intersection of Old Kennett Road between Greenville and Centreville.
Centreville Village – Charming Centreville Village where 15 buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was established by Quakers in the 17th century. The village is a great place to take a stroll, bike, dine and shop at antique shops, art galleries and more. Historic Buckley’s Tavern is a favorite eating spot. Farmers market is every Thursday in season. View Oberod, a du Pont country estate on the left as you leave town.
Location: On Route 52 and North of Winterthur.
Nearby in Pennsylvania
Longwood Gardens – Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s premier horticultural displays. This garden wonderland created by industrialist Pierre S. du Pont was purchased in 1906 to preserve its trees. He then embarked on designing a grand-scale 1,050-acre horticultural showplace. Enjoy Italian water gardens with elaborate fountains, outdoor ponds, landscaped meadows, a massive conservatory, breathtaking exhibits and du Pont interpretive displays.
Location: Longwood Gardens is on Route 1, just off of Route 52 in Pennsylvania. Continue North on Route 52 to the state line. Drive 3 miles from the state line to Route 1. Turn left on Route 1. Longwood is 1/2 mile on the right. The trip from Winterthur to Longwood takes about 10 minutes.
Brandywine River Museum – Several du Ponts founded the Brandywine River Museum to embrace the artistic heritage of the Brandywine Valley landscape. It houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of works by N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth. This unique collection of American art and illustration is internationally known and showcased in the rustic setting of a Civil War era grist mill on the Brandywine River. The Brandywine Conservancy is here too.
Location: The Brandywine River Museum is on Route 1, just South of Route 100 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. From the Pennsylvania line on Route 52 go 3 miles to Route 1. Turn right on Route 1 and go 3.5 miles to the Brandywine River Museum on the right just before Route 100.