The House Behind the Wall

Services for Real Estate Pros with Independent architectural histor'n Delaware RS-0010115

To those driving up the Philadelphia Pike just outside ofLucy and spring Wilmington, Delaware, an anomaly appears--a thick stone wall with a home peeking out behind it. What could this ancient looking building be?




To those in the know about the importance of this area during the Revolutionary war, the Penny House, built in 1749, is a rare survivor of the period when Continental troops marched south on what was known as the King's Highway. Today, this route has officially been named W3R, or the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary  Route.



In 1781, General George Washington and FrenchPenny FP General Rochambeau marched south to Yorktown, Virginia and victory for the new nation (with the help of their friends in Europe). It is said that Washington often traveled this route on his way to his home in Virginia--and sometimes stopped for a cool drink at the spring which still exists out back.


The Penny Family was the first to live here, and it is known it was used as a toll house for the turnpike out front. In Penny yardlater days author James Warner Bellah resided here.  He is known for writing "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,"  "Fort Apache," and "Rio Grande."  Later, local artist Robert Shaw lived in the property.  I remember visiting the property on Wilmington Garden Day, when local antique dealers lived in the house. They featured not only the beautiful grounds, but a small outbuilding filled with antiques.


For anyone looking for an island of peace in this busy area, I recommend making an appointment to see the Penny House.

Posted by

sepia mug

Carolyn Roland, Your Historic

Homes ResourceChambers sepia

Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate

7234 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin DE

 Office-302-239-3000 Cell 302-593-5111

Comments (5)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Carolyn - what a nice trip through history with this post.  Interesting.  

Jul 21, 2021 03:14 PM
Carolyn Roland- In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Independent architectural histor'n - Wilmington, DE
Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS

Michael--Always happy to do a little time traveling!

Jul 22, 2021 05:12 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

As I saw the house before reading the post, I had recollections of driving through rural areas of Eastern PA and seeing similar.  They certainly were grand homes

Jul 22, 2021 06:27 AM
Carolyn Roland- In Delaware and S. Chester County PA

Thanks for the memories, Ed!  Although this area is no longer rural, it certainly was outside the city when it was built.

Jul 23, 2021 05:57 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA - What a great story.  My husband is watching "TurN" right now and I bet he will appreciate your great images and the history behind that wall.

Jul 22, 2021 06:30 PM
Carolyn Roland- In Delaware and S. Chester County PA

Sheri-I'll have to see if I can get that program--it sounds interesting and definitely history related!

Jul 23, 2021 05:59 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

That's an amazing looking house with an equally amazing history, Carolyn.

Jul 22, 2021 07:05 PM
Carolyn Roland- In Delaware and S. Chester County PA

Thanks, Myrl. History marched right by this house, for sure!

Jul 23, 2021 06:00 AM