Longwood Gardens Music Room

Peirce - Du Pont House, Music Room, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania | Built 1909

The property which Longwood Gardens sits upon was at one point in time an asset of William Penn, founder and namesake of Pennsylvania. The land was a gift from King Charles I of England, but was eventually sold to the Peirce family. The original house on the property was built in 1730 by Joshua Peirce. The house had large additions in 1764 and 1824, which included two stories and a dining room, and doubled the house’s original size. In 1906, Pierre Du Pont purchased the land in order to save it from being stripped and sold for lumber. Du Pont began the modernization of the house in 1906 by installing plumbing and electricity, and also began a massive addition of a two story structure to the north side of the house.

The east conservatory contains a large greenhouse (seen above), ballroom, and music room. The music room was built in 1923 as an entertainment area. Its accents include: walnut and silk paneled walls, teak flooring, a grand fireplace, and elaborately molded and painted plaster ceiling. The music room is most famous for housing Mr. Du Pont’s first organ. A lover of music, Mr. Du Pont commissioned an Aeolian pipe organ with 63 stops and 3,650 pipes. It was enlarged in 1923 to have 79 stops, but was soon donated to the University of Delaware.

Mr. Du Pont then commissioned a newer and much larger organ that would be placed in the ballroom. This custom piece has 10,010 pipes, 237 stops, five 32-foot pedal stops, and 61 combination pistons. It weighs over 55 tons and its dimensions are 63 feet wide, 23 feet deep and 40 feet tall. It resides behind the north wall of the ballroom which is covered in silk damask fabric so that it blends with the rest of the walls.

Lathan's Contributions:
The Longwood Garden Music room, adjacent to the ballroom, was the entertainment pride and joy of Pierre du Pont, President of du Pont Chemical Company and empire. Lathan’s challenge was to install a new lead coated copper hand seamed roof over the existing structure without demolition of the original structure. The original roof structure was hand cut, demolished, and removed by being carried away in small pieces. This was done to protect the priceless Italian frescos and other architectural features within the Music Room. This project was completed in 2000 and offered architectural enhancement as well as permanent roof protection over one of America’s grandest and most famous estates.

 

Client Testimonials

“Our people work as a very enthusiastic, hardworking team. Our supervisors average 26 years experience in the construction industry - experience that shows with each completed project.”


- Jerry Lathan, President and Founder

 

 

To speak to one of our staff members about your project, contact us locally at
(251) 443-7663 or toll free
at (800) 780-7663.