Hello friends! It has been a while since Villa Finale has posted to our blog. These are certainly different times we are living in and we realize that many folks are looking for entertainment from the comfort and safety of their homes. As such, our staff would like to highlight places of interest, objects in our own collections, or even little-known stories of history you may not know too much about. This month, Doug Daye, Museum Attendant at Villa Finale, brings us a review of the virtual tour of Madam C.J. Walker’s Villa Lewaro!
“Villa Lewaro” by Doug Daye
Did you ever wonder how America’s first self-made female millionaire lived? Where did she entertain her guests? Did she host any well-known visitors at her estate? For answers, take a virtual tour of the Villa Lewaro, the divine home of trailblazer Madam C.J. Walker!
A Brief History of Madam C.J Walker
Born in 1867 as Sara Breedlove to an enslaved family, in Delta Louisiana, she worked her way up into becoming a successful business pioneer in hair care for black women. After losing much of her hair to a scalp condition, she experimented with different remedies and treatments to seek a cure. With the help of her husband, Charles Walker, she went on to advertise her hair care treatments for African Americans. As business progressed, she had numerous amounts of trained sales agents to serve customers throughout the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. She had Villa Lewaro constructed in 1918 by successful African American architect, Vertner Tandy, in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City.
Virtual Tour Highlights
Narrated by Madam Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Leia Bundles, the viewer is taken on a historical, detailed virtual journey through the grand estate. Here are a few highlights from the tour:
. The Music Room – Decorated with gold leaf- trim, Madam Walker entertained guests with live music from notable musicians including violinist Joseph Douglass, grandson of Frederick Douglass.
. Christmas in the Dining Room – With an astonishing ceiling decorated with paintings of mermaids and other mythical creatures, guests were served an elaborate breakfast on Christmas morning. Sadly, it was Madam Walker’s only Christmas celebrated at the Villa Lewaro before her death two months later.
. Independence Day Celebration – As the Villa Lerwaro’s magnificent patio and garden are displayed, the tour explains the grand Independence Day event held during the President of Liberia’s visit to the home. Since he was not welcome in the White House, President C.D.B King was invited to the Villa Lewrao by Walker’s daughter for Independence Day where he enjoyed all the festivities!
By offering a detailed history and magnificent views of the property, the Villa Lewaro virtual tour permits the viewer to learn about the life of Madam C.J. Walker and the legacy she left behind.
The tour can be viewed on the National Trust website by clicking here:
More information on Villa Lewaro can be viewed by clicking here:
If you haven’t watched it already, check out the Netflix limited series “Self Made,” based on Madam C.J. Walker’s life!