Jessie Ball & Alfred duPont

Nestled on the banks of Northeast Florida’s St. John’s River, Epping Forest has been a Jacksonville landmark for close to a century. The 58 acre estate, built by Alfred I. duPont and his wife, Jessie Ball duPont in the 1920’s, boasts a rich history as a meeting place for industrial giants, heads of state and powerful politicians, including the Vanderbilts, Carnegies and the Goulds. 

Alfred I duPont, originally of Delaware, known for the famed duPont chemical dynasty, was beginning a brilliant second career in Florida. He pioneered the development of sound banking, transportations and the paper industry. It was during that time, he and his wife, Jessie Ball duPont, decided to establish a permanent residence in Jacksonville. Alfred chose this particular tract of land located on the widest point of the St. John’s River for its abundant wild life and beautiful oak trees, he so dearly loved. This beautiful location provided an excellent area for his favorite pastime, yachting on his beloved Nenemoosha. 

Construction on the Epping Forest Mansion began in 1926 by local architect, Harold Saxelbye. The Mansion contained 25 rooms in its original grandeur. It is a unique mixture of Gothic, Spanish Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles. The Mansion is adorned with brick courtyards, beautifully carved pilasters for the balconies and original marble and tile floors. In addition, many fanciful stone creatures and icons rest on the garden walls and magnificent central stone fountain, evoking the European heraldry of centuries past. Among these symbols are acorns, owls, pelicans frogs and lions, after which the current Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club logo is fashioned. 

After the duPont’s both passed away, a local businessman, Raymond Mason, bought the estate in 1970. He lived there with his family until 1984, entertaining world leaders such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and President Gerald Ford. 

In 1984, Gate Petroleum acquired Epping Forest from the Mason family. The company felt strongly that Epping Forest should be preserved for the future enjoyment of Jacksonville citizens. Today, the magnificent Mansion has been completely restored to preserve its comfortable home for Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club. The club combines turn-of-the-century romance and world-class amenities in a setting of historical significance. The duPont Mansion and lush English style gardens offer a popular setting for its members, weddings, meetings, receptions, dinners and private parties.  


Today, Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club is a showplace offering a blend of the elegance of yesterday with the active lifestyle of today. Epping Forest is one of the South’s grandest estates blessed by natural beauty. Epping Forest provides a tradition of excellence and a lifetime of memories. To learn more about what EFYCC has to offer, please head over to our Membership page to learn more!