The Kelly Châteaux
The chateaux, in its prime, was inarguably the most stunning property on the block consisting of eight houses—or so we were told by Monsieur Desmarais, the previous and only owner before us. Elderly as he was, though, at the time we met him, there beneath a mask of wrinkles and dim blue eyes was a man of stature, elegance, and an appreciation for lovely things—namely my mother, with his ardent gaze and lingering kisses to the hand. Led by curiosity soon after moving in, I decided to do a Google search on Monsieur Desmarais, unearthing several black and white photos of a dark haired regal man somewhere in his late twenties. I was both surprised and not at all surprised by what I learned about him.
Besides possessing a significant wealth, he was also thought to be a direct relative of those belonging to French nobility. As I continued my research, there were names I recognized and some I did not, but a Viscount Châtillon-Blois was certainly one I was familiar with, having read a fair amount of 12th century liturgy in preparation for a History report. Driven to the states in an effort to expand a textile franchise, Desmarais had hired a horde of architects to build a suitable home for him. Months later, “The Chateaux” was completed and Desmarais made his mark on what had formerly been thought to be a relatively quiet part of town. Not long after his effusive arrival did an equally unrestrained reputation follow, causing quite a commotion and stir among nearby residents. Fond of entertaining, he had stressed to his architects the importance of a proper salle de bal to host lavish parties. Although he remained in Amiens, France—his birthplace—until construction was complete, dispatches denote his extensive involvement as overseer, demanding that every decision, large and minute, be discussed with him before proceeding. This request made for many delays, pushing back the speculated completion date by over six months. The outcome, however, was nothing short of glorious. While the text dictating the ballroom’s sumptuous construct and borderline garish French décor was numerous, I could only find one picture.
© Cara Rosalie Olsen