Alfred Victor DuPont’s secret lifestyle choices got him into some real trouble.
As a spirit he tries to make amends while still giving unwanted attention.
The DuPont Mansion is a glorious three story, decorative Victorian era Italianate-Renaissance “palatial town home”. It was built by the DuPonts in 1879, to provide a place to stay for all of the family relatives, originally from Delaware, who came down to Kentucky to help start new ventures and run the family’s various businesses.
In this elegant mansion visitors will find the usual public area rooms seen in Victorian abodes. In its 10 bedrooms, all the expected creature comforts of a well-to do 19th century manse are there, and all the modern conveniences of present day accommodations.
Decor from the past includes 14-foot ceilings, 10-foot doors and windows to match, lovely hardwood/parquet floors, and some nice antique furniture. Also, decorative, Italianate plaster moldings and huge, hand-carved Italian marble fireplaces add much to the ambiance of the place. A lovely wooden staircase connects the floors to the main entrance hall.
In 1854, two of the DuPont brothers, Alfred Victor and Biederman, came to Louisville, and started some enterprises. One of them was The AV DuPont and Company, which not manufactured and distributed paper and gunpowder. In a short time they became prominent, successful and well thought of.
In 1870, Biederman and his family bought a stone and brick Renaissance villa country home, built on the highest point of what is now Central Park. The brothers would built a second mansion just a 1/2 block north of Park Avenue, just up the street from Biederman’s villa. It was a town home for family who dropped in periodically to help run their businesses, and for Alfred Victor to stay once in awhile, when he needed to meet with his brother, or for family events.
Alfred Victor, a bachelor, didn’t live there full time, but preferred instead to reside in the downtown Galt House Hotel suite, mostly because he had a very active singles life, to say the least, and he didn’t want his family to know what he was doing.
Biederman generously opened up his front yard and grounds, known then as DuPont’s Square, to the public as a recreation area, a place for families to enjoy a picnic and for children to play. Concerts, balloon raisings, and other activities were staged there for the entertainment of the town. In 1904 the city bought this huge plot of greenery from the DuPonts, and officially turned it into a park, changing its name to Central Park.
The DuPont family eventually sold the town home mansion to Thomas Prather Jacob and his family, in 1886, as Alfred Victor had no interest in living there, and they no longer needed living quarters for visiting relatives. Biederman DuPont had his own home down the street.
Around the turn-of-the-century, the town home would be put to work when it was divided into apartments. The years were not kind to it, as keeping a Victorian in good shape takes a lot of money. Rental properties don’t often generate enough income to cover repairs and renovation. By the 1990s it really had sunk to a deplorable state and needed a lot of work.
In the late 1990s, initial funds were invested to first stabilize and then save the home. Enough work was done to get it on the market, though it still was considered a woebegone fixer-upper which would take a lot of investment, time and TLC to make profitable again.
Luckily for the public, the mansion was rescued by the Warren family, who bought it in 2000, invested heavily in it, and established an upscale Bed and Breakfast. In 2002, the Warrens received the Louisville Historical League’s Historic Preservation Award.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
In both of David Domine’s books, Ghosts of Old Louisville and Phantoms of Old Louisville, he gives readers some great information on the activities of Alfred Victor DuPont when he was alive, and in his afterlife, in both Central Park and the DuPont Mansion on occasion.
Alfred Victor DuPont’s secret lifestyle choices got him into some real trouble. His appetite for intimate liaisons was enormous, leading first to unhappiness, and then tohis demise. He was on very friendly terms with the madame of one of Louisville’s bordellos, as was well acquainted with the young women who worked there. Unfortunately, this mistress, Maggie, became pregnant with Fred’s child in 1893. In a panic, he went into denial and tried to send her away. She shot him in the chest, killing him instantly.
After a quick family meeting, the Louisville DuPonts came up with a plan to hide this shameful incident, which would’ve caused a huge uproar. The DuPonts used their influence to convince the paper and police to proclaim that Alfred Victor died of a heart attack on the front porch of the Gal House Hotel. The true story was known by neighbors, but the general public didn’t learn of it until decades later, in the 1930s.
Perhaps, Alfred Victor may have changed his mind, and supported the baby, and dealt with the family shame, if he had taken the time to calm down and think about it. Unfortunately, Maggie killed him before he could redeem himself.
Alfred Victor’s entity is seeking to redeem himself and find his lost son out of guilt. As the Galt House Hotel is long gone, he has returned to other familiar stomping grounds: to Central Park, where his brother’s house once stood, and to the DuPont Mansion, a place he did visit, when he wanted to meet with his brother.
Read David Domine’s books mentioned above for the full account.
A tall, sad male entity in a cape has been known to appear briefly in Central Park at dusk, in front of people and children.
In one incident, a little boy lost his ball in some tall grass. A tall male entity appeared, holding the boy’s ball, studying the lad. He threw it back to the boy and disappeared.
A workman who was doing repair work alone in the evening in the mansion in 1998, was startled to see a fully-formed, one-dimensional man dressed in an old fashioned tux, who had appeared right in front of him at the bottom of the stairs. The workman noticed a small blood stain and bullet hole in the man’s chest, before the apparition faded away.
His untimely death hasn’t changed Alfred Victor’s tendencies to more than admire the opposite sex from afar, which has led to uncomfortable occurrences on the mansion’s main staircase on occasion, but not recently, and never with bed and breakfast guests. My theory is that while alive, Alfred Victor didn’t feel adequate with women of his own class, so he pursued safer women he deemed below his social status.
David Domine reports that Alfred Victor’s entity was a bit too friendly with an interior decorator, a professional, local woman, hired to help spruce the mansion up for an event on two different occasions. Perhaps he felt that this interior decorator wasn’t from the elite class, as she was working for the owners of the mansion.
This interior decorator was going down the main staircase, when she felt a hot breath being blown into her ear. Another time, also on the stairs, she saw a tall male entity, dressed in formal attire, walking down the stairs right in front of her, who disappeared at the bottom. Her third experience came yet again on the stairs. When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she felt an invisible hand grab her bottom. She turned to see who was there. As she gazed into a blank space, the invisible hand goosed her!
Sometimes carnal misbehavior can lead to dire, unintended consequences. It is thought that guilt about rejecting his son, and causing family shame, holds this entity in this world. The entity of Alfred Victor DuPont is a restless spirit who haunts this mansion on occasion and in Central Park, wanting to find a way to take the shame away and looking for the son he wouldn’t recognize even if he saw him.
1317 South Fourth Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
- Dupont Mansion web site
- Photos © Tom Carr
- Ghosts of Old Louisville
by David Domine
McClanahan Publishing House
- Phantoms of Old Louisville
by David Domine
McClanahan Publishing House, 2006
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr