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Darley House

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1859 alterations, Felix O. C. Darley. Philadelphia Pike (U.S. 13) and Darley Rd.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Darley House (Courtesy of the Delaware Historical Society)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Philadelphia-born Felix Darley, America's first important book illustrator, drew pictures for volumes by James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and others. Upon marrying in 1859, he and Jane Colburn moved to this house along the post road. Darley thereby escaped urban nuisances, yet was within easy train distance of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Unsubstantiated local legend says that author Charles Dickens visited him here. As shown in a sketch by Darley, the gambrel-roofed frame house originally had a veranda on the side, an additional window above it, and a door leading to a quaint balcony on the third floor. Gone, too, are the Gothic Revival moldings over the windows. The vacant house was restored in 1991–1992 as a bed-and-breakfast. Next door stands the Church of the Ascension (Episcopal; 1851–1854, Samuel Sloan), built across the road from its current site and moved in 1927, when a stone addition was built. Its facade was reconstructed in 1949. West of the Darley House is Claymont Stone School (1805; enlarged 1905), threatened with demolition in 1987, but subsequently restored (Jim Nelson, architect).

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Darley House", [Claymont, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 35-35.

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