Jul 30, 2015 - News

Southern Swagger at the Duke Mansion: 100 Years of money, power, and socialites



Built in 1915 in Myers Park, the Duke Mansion is one of Charlotte’s swankiest estates, steeped in a century of high society and shaped by 100 years of global economic forces. Think Gatsby on Hermitage Road. Or think HBO’s Entourage but instead of Vince, E and Turtle buying cars and sneaks, think Rockefeller and Vanderbilt types creating endowments, giving back to the community and shaping society for future generations to come.

In light of its 100-Year Anniversary, we stormed it MTV Cribs style to snap photos of the fanciness so you can ogle over a southern swanky story you only wish you could live.


Some Facts: 

  • The mansion has been home to magnates and industry barons in energy, tobacco, media, real estate, and textiles.
  • Owners have included the President of Southern Public Utlities, the Founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Power, the Owner of WBT radio, the Cannons of Cannon Mill, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, the Linebergers of textile fortune, and the founders of Raycom Sports.
  • The mansion was privately owned until 1996 when Duke Power Company lead efforts to create a nonprofit to permanently protect the mansion. The nonprofit bought the mansion from the Ray family in 1996 and opened it as a Historic Inn and Meeting Place in 1998.
  • The “Wonder Fountain” was installed by Buck Duke in the early 1920s. Water piped in from the Catawba River was shot 150 feet into the air to showcase the power of power. Watching the fountain in all its glory was a popular pastime for Charlotte and how Fountain View Road off East Boulevard got its name.
  • There are a lot chandeliers and other fancy things that you can learn about on the 100 year anniversary open house tour next month.
  • The Duke Endowment, one of today’s top Private Foundations was established in the SOLARIUM in 1924.
  • John F. Kennedy dated one of the Cannon daughters who lived there. Word is, she broke his heart, but he still attended her wedding on the grounds of the Duke Mansion.
  • The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
  • Earlier this year, the grounds and gardens were completely redesigned, restored and made open to the public.

What you can do there today. 

  • Stay in the 20-room bed and breakfast. There are 5 room types: Dowd Suite, King Porch Room, King Room, Queen Room and Double Room. Rates range from $129-$329/night (plus taxes and fees) depending on the room type.
  • Host a private event for up to 300 people.
  • Enjoy the 4.5 acres of recently restored gardens and grounds. Open sunrise to sunset.

Next Month: Open House Event for the 100 Year Anniversary 

What: Beyond the Fountain Home + Garden Tour

When: August 28-30

Where: The Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Road

Details: Enjoy a free tour of the inside of this historic landmark home including the public spaces and many of the overnight rooms along with the 4.5 acres of newly restored and renovated gardens. The weekend also includes two special “Twilight Tours” Friday and Saturday evenings featuring a cash bar, snacks from our Chef and music. Learn about the history of The Mansion and experience its setting in one of Charlotte’s most historic neighborhoods. Free valet parking on site.

All tours are free but require an RSVP. Sign up for your time slot here.


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