William duPont, Jr. was born in a 16th C manor house in Surrey, England. He grew up in Montpelier, the 1760's Virginia home of President James Madison. So if you get the idea that he felt architecturally and well as financially privileged, you would probably be right.
I considered these facts as I visited nearby Bellevue State Park outside of Wilmington, Delaware. William duPont, Jr. had inherited his father's estate here in 1928. Begun in 1855 by wool merchant Hanson Robinson, the manor house was a Gothic Revival mansion with crenelated towers. This would not do for duPont, who painstakingly removed all exterior signs of the Gothic features, and turned (albeit awkwardly) it into a version of Montpelier.
The estate also reflects the interests of William and his first wife, Jean Liseter Austin, who were into horses big time. Today, Bellevue houses Wellspring Farm, a teaching and riding facility. It also has extensive public tennis courts, reflecting the interests of William's second wife, Margaret Osborne, a tennis champion.
The family could not support this extensive property when duPont died, so in 1976 it was given to Delaware State Parks (after prying it from 2 heirs who didn't want to let go). Today you can hike, fish, ride a horse, play tennis, engage in art classes, and listen to summer concerts here. Oh, and you can also rent the historic home for weddings or other celebrations. The inside is not going to look like what you expect, but the rooms are grand and I seem to remember a secret passage somewhere inside.
Looking for historic and older homes in Delaware or nearby Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania? Contact Carolyn Roland, Your Older and Historic Homes Resource.