Versailles in Delaware: Surface cleaning at Namours
The United States of America's European heritage is evident in many parts of its cultural geography, from the many towns named after European capitals to the neoclassical architecture which adorns numerous cities. And in fact, if you ever want to show a European visitor something that matches – or, at least, approximates – the splendor of the palace of Versailles, you can point to the Nemours Mansion and Garden located just outside Wilmington, Delaware.
The former estate of industrialist Alfred I. duPont, there's good reason it frequently receives comparison to the enormous palace whose original expansion was driven by the French monarch Louis XIV, also known as the 'Sun King'. The 300-acre property contains 77 rooms, more than an acre of floor space, a 30-by-35 foot reception hall, with around 110,000 items within its walls – including a grandfather clock owned by Marie Antoinette, and 225 square feet worth of silver cutlery.
But perhaps the most breathtaking element of the estate is its expansive garden, which seems to be consciously emulating that of Versailles. The centrepiece of the area are its marble fountains, though it is also filled with various marble statues and architectural structures.
The rise, fall and rise of Namours
The duPonts were one of the wealthiest families in America, and their places of residence needed to match this grandeur. So Alfred duPont commissioned the massive $2 million property as a gift to his second wife, Alicia Bradford. It was completed in 1910 by New York architecture firm Carrere & Hastings, whose handiwork is also seen in structures like the New York Public Library.
However, not all good things tend to last. Over time, the property fell into some disrepair, and its marble fountains and other stone structures suffered iron staining, requiring some serious surface cleaning. A restoration project was begun, ultimately costing nearly $39 million, which involved workers taking apart and cleaning around 3,000 stone pieces.
It's a reminder that even the most grandiose of structures can suffer gradual disrepair if its stone elements are not taken care of properly. Looking after your marble, not only requires an effective surface cleaner, but a reliable sealer like Dry-Treat's STAIN-PROOF Original™ to prevent stains from cropping up in the first place.