Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nemours Garage

Of course, a showplace estate such as Nemours must have an outstanding garage. What self respecting industrialist wouldn't have the latest gadgets of the day? The garage matches the grandness of the house but with simpler materials; Stucco, painted wooden treillage and a clay tile roof hold delightful copper dormers.

The second floor held a large apartment and offices for the chauffeur and his family while the first floor contained the estate's collection of vehicles as well as repair and machine shops.Five car bays (plus entrance ends) now hold 5 automobiles, a pony carriage and motorboat once owned by Dupont and his wife.The interior is simple and of its' time: textured plaster walls, simple woodwork and tile floors.The entry hall holds the original telephoneAs well as the machine shop to which Alfred Dupont escaped to tinker.Dupont's taxidermy collection from his hunts once graced the main hall of the mansion, but Jessie Ball, upon moving in after their marriage had them moved out to the garage. An early 20th century example of the man cave?
The center doors have a graceful arch while the 4 flanking garage doors, while massive in size, are less monumental.





Admittedly I don't know much about cars but I certainly appreciate their style.Dupont would only buy American made cars and drove this Pontiac for many years until his death.At this time, Jessie went out and purchased a British made Rolls Royce (Silver Cloud no less!)All of the cars are in mint, working order and still are driven around the estate.Why don't more cars today have hood ornaments?Two of the cars were so beloved by the Duponts that they had their bodies transplanted onto new cadillac engine beds. I had never heard of that before!The sides of this green car had an interesting woven texture.The oldest car featured a true 'lantern' as headlight.And they're called 'trunks' for a reason!Also in the collection is a wooden motor launch which would ferry the Dupont's guests across the Little Choptank River to their nearby country estate. Now this is a collection I can appreciate!

11 comments:

Todd with a Cold said...

Those cars are AMAZING! You're so lucky to have seen them close up. I can't afford a car like that but I would definitely settle for that charming, original phone in the entry hall!

quintessence said...

How FABULOUS!! I often like the outbuildings on these estates almost better than the main house! The doors, the phone, the car ornaments - love it all!!

Foodie said...

Makes me think of the movie Sabrina. A great post!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Todd - The phone was cute -not sure I'd want a big boat of a car like that though!
quintessence - Yes, I always prefer outbuildings and the 'behind the scenes' places- sort of like looking at a different way of life as opposed to just the high gloss.
Foodie - exactly! But this one isn't connected to the house at all but is rather far away, unlike in the movie.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Hi, Stefan - A great posting. FYI, the next time you go to the Smithsonian, check out the section devoted to porcelain and glass. In that area, there's a whole display cabinet devoted to glass auto radiator caps — eagles, peacocks, Indian maidens — it's quite a surprise and you'll find it stunning.

The Down East Dilettante said...

I'm impressed with DuPont, who was once quoted as wanting to build a wall high enough to keep all others named Dupont off the property after a titanic family feud and business struggle, for his commitment to local workmen and American product.

And of course I'm impressed with the garage, and the V-16 Cadillac with canework sides---and the image of Mrs. Dupont riding around in the back of that vast Rolls saloon. Aw, I guess I'm just impressed.

I was suddenly reminded of a huge garage on the old Atwater Kent estate up here, with a single arched entrance but space for 12 cars---one drive through the door and onto a motorized turntable which would aim the car in the right direction to its space in the room. Those were the days. (And, while I'm free associating, there's an estate up here for sale at the moment with a seventy car garage. Yup, that's what I said. SEVENTY car garage----but the Dupont's is far lovelier. Thanks for the wonderful Nemours tours---loved it.

Anonymous said...

My Dad worked for the Alfred I duPont Children's Hospital on the grounds next door for years. During construction his office was upstairs in the garage. Never got to visit him there, but I love going now!

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

Be-still-my-heart!

The Wandering Wahoo said...

I went to Nemours sometime in the 1980s. I was with college three friends and there was an older couple on the tour, too. She wore stretch pants, he wore black socks with sandals. When we got to the garage, the docent gave his short spiel about the cars, and then Mr. Sandals said to the docent, "You know, Liberace has hundreds of these cars." It's one of my favorite memories of Nemours. That and the gnome garden, of course.

Cote de Texas said...

The phone!!!! those cars! the garage. wow. I want to go see it for myself.

silvawraith2 said...

Wonderful photographs, and especially nice to see the cars as well. Interestingly, the Shell Grey over Masons Black Rolls-Royce pictured is actually a Phantom V (not a Silver Cloud)with 7-passenger limousine coachwork by Park Ward (Design 980) on chassis 5LAT2, which was delivered to Mrs DuPont in November of 1960. Another Phantom V of the same design, chassis 5LAS27 was delivered to Mr DuPont in February 1960, so apparently he didn't always order American cars. That particular car has been in Kuwait since 2005.