Delaware was one of the first settled areas of the “New World,” so it’s kind of surprising that many of the original homes and estates from the 1600s and 1700s are still standing, today. Not many things last that long! These historic homes in Delaware are worth visiting to learn about the history of the First State. There are also the DuPont mansions – which, while they aren’t as old, are extravagant examples of the legacy the DuPont Family has left on the state of Delaware. Have you been to any of these houses?
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Winterthur Mansion, Wilmington
Winterthur is the best historic home in Delaware for families to explore. The art collections are impressive, and the grounds feature an enchanted fairy trail forest that children will enjoy. The Mansion itself is a DuPont Home, dating back to 1837.
5105 Kennett Pk (Rt 52) Wilmington, DE 19735
2. Cannonball House, Lewes
The (probably haunted) Cannonball House in Lewes has been around since the 1760s. It's worn many different hats (roofs?) over the years, as it was once a restaurant, laundromat, pub, and the Mayor of Lewes' office, even. Currently, the historic building is the home of The Lewes Historical Society's maritime museum, which is absolutely worth a visit. While you're there, see if you can find the cannonball that's still lodged in the wall.
118 Front St. Lewes, DE 19958
3. Eleutherian Mills, Wilmington
The beautiful historic home on the hill looking out over the mills at the Hagley Estate was the first Du Pont family home in America, acquired and built in the first few years of the 19th century. Visitors today get to explore the home, gardens, and artifacts left from the gunpowder mill that brought the DuPonts their initial fame and fortune.
298 Buck Road East Wilmington, DE 19807
4. Nemours, Wilmington
Explore 300 acres of sprawling, gorgeous gardens and meticulously maintained land at Nemours, which was the creation of Alfred I. duPont. The large reflecting pool and fountain is one of the most beautiful scenes in all of Delaware. The Mansion is open for tours now, too - it's designed in a unique French style, unlike anything you've ever seen.
Alapocas Drive and Route 141 Wilmington, DE 19803
5. Amstel House, New Castle
The Amstel House is one of the oldest buildings in historic New Castle. It was built in the 1730s by Dr. John Finney. You'll be able to see the original woodwork if you tour the house, and you can appreciate the open hearth and all of the details that were put into making an extravagant mansion. Tours are available Apr. 1 - Dec. 31.
East Fourth St. New Castle, DE 19720
6. Historic Homes of Odessa
Odessa, originally called Cantwell's Bridge, is one of the oldest towns in lower Delaware. The town takes pride in its history, and there are 5 historic homes on 20 acres that maintain the colonial feel. The entire area includes the yards and outbuildings, which are certainly interesting! You can find tours and events occurring year round.
201 Main Street Odessa, DE 19730
7. John Dickinson House, Dover
John Dickinson was a signer of the Constitution and a very important part of the American Revolution. Learn about the beginnings of the nation as you explore Dickinson's house, dating back to 1740.
340 Kitts Hummock Rd. Dover, DE 19901
8. Hale-Byrnes House, Newark
The Hale-Byrnes house in Newark was an important meetinghouse during the American Revolution. It dates back to 1750, with an additon being built in 1773. The Council of War met here just before the Battle of the Brandywine, in September of 1777.
606 Stanton-Christiana Rd. Newark, DE 19702
9. Governor Ross Mansion, Seaford
The Governor Ross mansion will take you back to some of the darker days in Delaware's history - before the civil war, when slavery was common in the state. Despite the uncomfortable history, a tour of the Governor Ross Mansion is one of the better tours in Delaware. You'll be able to explore a well preserved mansion complete with slave quarters, a couple of barns, and lots of artifacts from when it was a working plantation. The most interesting part of the tour will explain to you why one of the most popular Delaware governors had a Federal Warrant out for his arrest, and instead of facing authorities, was smuggled to England.
23669 Ross Station Road Seaford, DE 19973
10. Joseph T. Adams House, Georgetown
Georgetown has an interesting history, and the governing bodies of the town shuffled from office to office for almost two hundred years before the town purchased the Adams house for itself. It was built in 1868, and features elaborate Italianate style details and columns. In 1957, the house was acquired by the Georgetown town offices, finally giving them a permanent home, which it had been lacking since its establishment in 1791.
12 E. Pine St., Georgetown, Delaware