Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library will match a $125,000 historic preservation grant from the National Park Service to restore its Old Gate House.
It’s the only Delaware institution to receive any money from the grant.
Located on the western edge of Winterthur along Kennett Pike (Route 52), the Old Gate House is a prominent and recognizable part of the estate.
Designed in 1902 by Robeson Lea Perot, a Philadelphia architect, the two-story colonial/neoclassical revival building served as the main gate entrance to Winterthur., It was also the residence for the gatekeeper and his family until 1961.
Today, the gatehouse serves as offices for some of Winterthur’s development staff.
Winterthur applied for the grant and was required to match it with non-federal funds.
The grant money comes from $25.7 million allotted to Save America’s Treasures, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Winterthur is the former home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969), a renowned horticulturist and antique collector.
Famed as one of the people to first embrace American antiques and decorative arts, du Pont spent his life managing Winterthur’s estate and its farm and perfecting its gardens.
At its peak, the estate had 12 temperature-controlled greenhouses, a 23-acre orchard, a 5.5-acre vegetable garden and a 4-acre cutting garden.
It also had a butcher shop, sawmill, tannery, post office, train station, and a dairy barn where du Pont bred and raised award-winning Holstein cattle.
Ninety-nine cottages housed 250 members of Winterthur’s staff and their families.
Ultimately, du Pont turned his175-room mansion into a museum in 1951 to display nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America since 1640.
The gatehouse restoration project will include restoring the gatehouse’s iron railing and gate; conserving the historic shutters;l painting the exterior; sealing the basement; and repairing the masonry of the outbuildings and a connecting wall.
The project will stabilize historical materials and return them to a more original condition, said John Castle, Winterthur’s director of facilities, who will oversee the project.
“This work will significantly improve the appearance of a prominent symbol of the Winterthur estate,” Castle said in a press release.
RELATED STORY: Winterthur’s dazzling Ann Lowe exhibit ends in early January
“We’re thrilled that this funding will allow us to immediately begin this work, most of which will be completed by the summer of 2025,” added Danielle Dougherty, Winterthur’s assistant
director of grants management.
These grants preserve and conserve nationally significant properties and collections to tell a more complete story of America and its people, said NPS Director Chuck Sams.
“Preserving these historic places and collections ensures the generations of today and tomorrow can enjoy and learn from the diverse stories across time and place in America’s history,” Sams said.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
Share this Post