Friends of Bellevue State Park
Bellevue was established as a State Park in 1977, and was previously the home of William DuPont, Jr., a bank executive and prominent figure in thoroughbred horse racing and breeding. The estate features a large mansion home, nine-furlong racetrack, the Figure 8 Barn, extensive stables and paddocks and a first class clay court tennis center used by DuPont’s wife, Margaret Osbourne, a champion professional tennis player. Originally constructed in 1855 as a gothic stone castle, Bellevue Mansion was renovated by DuPont in the 1930’s to reflect the architectural style of Montpellier, his childhood home. In addition to the DuPont mansion and estate, Bellevue State Park also includes the mansion and grounds of the Daniel Cauffiel estate and the historic Mount Pleasant Meeting House, Parsonage and cemetery.
Hello to All our Friends!
As autumn nears, we begin to look back on our wonderful summer season and hope that yours was filled with as many good times and as much outdoor fun as ours was! We enjoyed a fantastic summer of music with the Concert series and the many events that took place at Bellevue. It’s been a busy year with the completion of major projects and our 40th Anniversary Celebration.
In 2015, major restoration for the Mt Pleasant Parsonage was identified as a priority project. The Friends were extremely concerned about roof and basement leaks, rotting wood around the porch and windows, seriously peeling exterior paint, and crumbling plaster, as well as several other areas of deterioration. We decided to solicit grants to save the structure. Three grants were obtained, along with matching funds from the State, to begin the meticulous historic work on the Parsonage. With the generous support of the Longwood Foundation, Crystal Trust, and the Crestlea Foundation, work began in 2016. Paint sampling and analysis were performed to determine the historic colors of the Parsonage. The colors from the 1890’s were selected as the best representation of the former glory of the building. A laborious acid process to remove the exterior paint was performed and repairs were made to underlying structures. Several pieces of the porch were removed, taken back to the shop, and recreated. Old window frames and windows required extensive repairs and glazing. Widespread interior plasterwork was needed to make all areas of the house both safe and usable. The project is almost complete, with just a few touches remaining. Looking ahead, we will be seeking funds for repairs to the Meeting House and Cemetery.
The Music Garden is finished and is glorious! This project was conceived approximately seven years ago and has gone through many changes from the early concept. There is a beautiful mosaic mural created by artist, Jacqui Donahue, on the side of the Arts Center with a wide pathway back to the patio. A gazebo has been added and a pad with two large benches is in place. The garden has been planted, flowers are in full bloom, and the shrubs and perennials are doing well. The Patio has hosted numerous events including the Fashion Truck Brunch, and the summer concert Beer Garden with Bellefonte Brewing Company. Anyone interested in gardening? The Friends Music Garden Committee is looking for volunteers who may be interested in discouraging weeds, watering, and assisting with new plantings.
This year, Bellevue State Park celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a community event on July 2. Bellevue first opened to the public, after being acquired by Delaware State Parks, on July 2, 1977. This year’s celebration included musical performances by the Chester County Concert Band and Kategory 5, a park wide scavenger hunt, an Open House at Bellevue Hall, dog performances, kids’ activities, food trucks, and much more. The day was clear and sunny, Park entrance fees were waived, and Bellevue Park received over 6,000 visitors! Friends’ Board member Don Blythe, who had a special connection to opening day in 1977, chaired the 40th Anniversary event. He and his wife and young son visited that day and had a photo taken under a tree. That tree is still there and Don, along with his son and grandson, and with the ball his son brought 40 years ago, recreated the photo! The very successful event is now the new memory.
Friends have continued their regular fundraising events, which include monthly splitting and bundling of fallen wood from the Park, and selling the bundles for $5 each that are available year round at the Park office. We meet on the second Saturday of the month, from 10 AM to noon at the Percheron Barn, if you would like to help. All volunteers are welcome, and are rewarded with wonderful homemade Brownies! Friends also sold 50/50 tickets at the summer concerts.
Money raised from wood bundling, 50/50 raffles, Summer Concert Beer Gardens, and special events like the 40th Anniversary Celebration are used for supporting the summer concert series, paying stipends for the summer interns, support for Bellevue’s camp and school programs, as well as various improvements around the park.
Please contact the Friends of Bellevue if you have comments, are interested in volunteering, or have an interest in joining the Board of Directors. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, http://www.friendsofbellevuestatepark.org/
All the Best from the Friends of Bellevue State Park
The Friends of Bellevue State Park is a 501(c)(3) non profit volunteer based organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the scenic, historic and wildlife values of the park through dialog, volunteering, education and fundraising.