Commissioned in the early 1900s by DuPont Company president Pierre DuPont, the hotel that bears his name is a Wilmington landmark. When it opened in 1913, the hotel instantly became one of the most fashionable properties in the United States, rivaling any in New York or London. Over its long history, the Hotel DuPont has hosted a long list of celebrities and leading political and business figures. Because of its central location overlooking Rodney Square and the central place it holds in the history of Wilmington, the hotel is often thought of as the city's "front door."
Backstory and Context
The hotel opened in January of 1913 and in its first week, more than 25,000 people toured its lavish interior. Then as now, the hotel's showpieces were the dining room, known as the Green Room, where wood paneling rises two-and-a-half stories above mosaic floors, and the expansive lobby. The hotel also featured the works of local artists, some of whom went on to become among the most highly regarded artists of the twentieth century, including Howard Pyle and the Wyeths.
Over the years, the Hotel DuPont hosted and entertained a long list of Hollywood stars as well as political figures and royalty. The hotel counts eight sitting presidents among its guests, including John Kennedy. Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Joe DiMaggio, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, and Katherine Hepburn are just a few of the celebrities who were hosted by the Hotel Dupont. Prince Rainier of Monaco and King Carl XVI were also guests.
The Hotel DuPont immediately became one of the country's classic luxury hotels, recognized as one of the finest properties on the East Coast. In 1918, additions were made, including the Gold Ballroom and the theatre, which is now known as the Playhouse on Rodney Square.
The DuPont Hotel remains one of the most elegant properties in the United States. But it has seen changes in recent years. In 2017, the hotel was sold and in the months since its purchase, the hotel has undergone numerous renovations. Much of its historic art collection was sold at auction. The hotel is currently operated by PM Hotel Group and additional renovations are planned.
Talarico, Patricia. End of an Era? What Hotel DuPont Sale Means. Delaware Online. June 27, 2016. Accessed April 29, 2018. https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2016/07/01/end-era-what-hotel-du-pont-sale-means/83346408/.
Hilario, Kenneth. Wilmington's Hotel DuPont Completes $400k in Renovations. Philadelphia Business Journal. February 18, 2018. Accessed April 29, 2018. https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2018/02/01/wilmingtons-hotel-dupont-completes-400k-in.html.