Notorious Du Pont Estate Now Luxury Development

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Courtesy of Toll BrothersThe Carriage Barn clubhouse is intended as a center of the community at Liseter, a development of up to 449 homes.

Pennsylvania's famed Du Pont estate, where thoroughbreds once frolicked and John du Pont shot and killed an Olympic gold medal wrestler, has been leveled and replaced with a Toll Brothers development of luxury houses.

Foxcatcher Farm, the former name of the estate, has been transformed into Liseter, a development permitted for 449 homes on more than 200 acres. The Toll Brothers project ranges from townhomes that start in the low $600,000s to five-bedroom houses that begin at $1.1 million.

Neighbors knew the property as the Du Pont estate, the site where John du Pont, who inherited the place, shot Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz to death in 1996. "Foxcatcher," a 2014 film starring Steve Carell that is currently in theaters, depicts the incident. Du Pont died in prison in 2010 at age 72.


The property lies about 13 miles from downtown Philadelphia and a stone's throw from the Main Line -- the font of blue-blood empty-nesters who are buying the new homes, according to Brian Thierrin, Toll Brothers vice president. So far, 126 homes have been sold, and about 35 residents have moved in.

The name, Liseter, comes from Jean Liseter Austin, whose father gifted her the property in 1919 when she wed, William du Pont Jr., an heir to the Du Pont chemical fortune. They called their new home "Liseter Farm,'' and bred Welsh ponies and thoroughbred racehorses there during the 1920s and 1930s. Among their most famous was Rosemont, one of the few horses to defeat the famed Seabiscuit.

When Toll Brothers bought the property, crews demolished the mansion, which had fallen into disrepair, and razed several guest houses and storage buildings. Where the mansion stood, the developer created Liseter Square with an open-air pavilion for concerts. They also built a 9,000 square- foot clubhouse called the Carriage Barn and a fitness center with a game room and yoga center.

Developing an historic and notorious property came with challenges. Neighbors were "concerned about what was going to happen to this estate," Thierrin said. "Even people who were against this property have come in and said, 'It's not what we wanted, but what they did is fantastic.' "

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Former Du Pont Estate Now Luxury Homes
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Notorious Du Pont Estate Now Luxury Development

An aerial view of the historic Du Pont estate years before its recent transformation into a luxury housing development nearly 20 years after a notorious crime.

This is an aerial view of the now-demolished mansion on the estate where John E. du Pont shot Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz to death on the grounds. (AP Photo/Tim Shaffer)
A now-demolished house used by Dave Shultz on the Pennsylvania estate of John E. du Pont is shown early Saturday, Jan. 27, 1996. Police said this was the location where, du Pont shot and killed Shultz, 36, a 1984 Olympic gold medal wrestler, before barricading himself inside his mansion. (AP Photo/ Bob Olender)
A rendering of one of the luxury homes in the new development of Liseter, with some models priced at over $1.1 million.
Model home interior in the new development on the site of the former Du Pont estate.
Model home interior in the new development on the site of the former Du Pont estate.
Model home interior in the new development on the site of the former Du Pont estate.
Model home interior in the new development on the site of the former Du Pont estate.
The Carriage Barn building, a clubhouse and community center on the site of the former Du Pont estate.
Interior of the Carriage Barn building, a clubhouse and community center on the site of the former Du Pont estate.
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