Historic House Listings

How about that stonework! The Penny House, Circa 1749 in Delaware. $289,900

January 10, 2022

Just imagine the history in this one! Stonework looks pretty amazing. The Penny House was built in 1749 by Arthur Penny. It is located on .27 acres in Wilmington, Delaware. His sons, David and William, worked as cabinet makers in the house. The home features hardwood floors, exposed beams, stone fireplace and original doors. James W. Bellah lived in the home in the 1900’s. He was the author of many western stories, including “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”. The home was said to be a toll stop on the Philadelphia Turnpike which took continental troops from Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. It is said the troops included Lafayette and Washington, who liked to stop for it’s cool spring water. Three bedrooms, one bathroom and 3,325 square feet. $289,900

Contact Carolyn Z. Rowland with Patterson-Schwartz-Hockessin: 302-239-3000

From the Zillow listing:


It is believed the Penny House history goes back to when this stone home was first built in 1749 by Arthur Penny. His sons David and William then worked as joiners (cabinet makers) in the house on the popular King’s Highway which led north to Philadelphia. Well-known local artist, Robert Shaw (who had grown up in the porter’s ledge with his family at nearby Rockwood) moved to the Penny House in 1881. It had been divided into 2 separate residences, each with its own fireplace and stairway. In the late 1940’s, Annie Shaw sold it to the the Travis family, who later built many of the homes in Penny Acres and lived in the Penny Barn in back of the house. They converted it to one residence. It was later sold to James W. Bellah, an author of many Western stories which were later turned into films such as “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.” Details such as the beaded beams in the main bedroom show the care that was taken to construct these utilitarian elements and create a graceful room with stone walls creating deep windows looking out on the grounds behind the house. The home was said to have been a toll stop on the Philadelphia Turnpike and became witness to the “W 3R Route” which took the Continental troops over 700 miles from Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. The troops included both Lafayette and Washington (who is said to like to stop for its cool spring water). Probably in the 19th century, a thick stone wall was built to separate this peaceful retreat from the present day Philadelphia Pike. Today this 3 bedroom home includes a large parlor with what was probably the cooking fireplace, a magnificent piece with some of the legends of the house’s history mounted on a wooden plaque over it. At some point probably in the early 20th century, it had been covered over with wallboard and wallpaper. Moving up one of the 2 staircases, we find another beautiful room—the main bedroom on the 2nd level, with the original beaded wooden joists (probably created by the Penny family). Another staircase here leads up to the attic, complete with original rafters imprinted with Roman numerals used to aid in roof construction. The landscaped grounds include a springhouse, the former cow pond, a gazebo made from a Victorian bell tower, a former garage, potting shed, and an outbuilding once used as an antique shop. An album in the house contains many photographs filled with the antiques from that period. The house has been featured on Wilmington Garden Day.


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