Bessie Gardner du Pont's divorce from husband Alfred I. du Pont in 1906 nearly tore the family apart. Alfred's foe, Pierre S. du Pont, sided with Bessie and later gave her this house as thanks for writing a history of the DuPont Company. Ives, architect of Winterthur (H10.1), based it closely on photographs of Bois-des-Fosses, the Pierre Samuel du Pont house in France (demolished 1970s); the name Chevannes came from a village near that historic home. Brass hardware, parquet floors, and mantels were all imported from France. A walled rose garden copied that at Bois-des-Fosses, from which estate chestnut seeds were brought to establish an allee. H. Rodney Sharp oversaw construction. Historian Margaret Lidz notes how similar the house is to Meown (see Centreville), a nearby farmstead that was built for Sharp's wife, and argues that Sharp was the chief “tastemaker” for the otherwise staid du Pont family during this era.
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