“Green Hill,” as it was known from at least 1732 until the du Pont family purchased it in the nineteenth century, was a desirable farmstead, right on Kennett Pike and within sight of downtown Wilmington. The original stone house was enlarged c. 1780 (to fourteen rooms) and again c. 1855; the barn bears a datestone (1807) with the initials of then-owner John Hirons. A sale in 1846 noted the excellence of the outbuildings: barn, granary, two carriage houses, plus hen, smoke, wash, and spring houses, all of which were built out of stone; a corn crib and summer house were frame. Ornamental trees occupied the grounds, perhaps including the huge ginkgo extant today. Howard Pyle's father bought Green Hill in 1853, and the artist spent his early childhood here. At what he called “the quaintest, dearest old place you can imagine,” young Howard pored over picture books while lying on a rug in the library by the fire, rolled down the “terraced bank” in front of the house, and watched Conestoga wagons rumble by on the turnpike.
The Pyles soon sold the house and moved to town. Widow Margaretta E. du Pont bought the place in 1868 and changed the name to Goodstay, a nod to Bon Sejour, the New Jersey home where the du Pont family first settled in America. T. Coleman du Pont purchased it in 1911 and gave it to his daughter, Ellen, in 1923. Ensuing alterations gave the Colonial Revival ensemble a complex plan. Standing with one's back to downtown and facing the original stone house, a joint shows the break between the oldest section (right) and second-oldest (left). The frame parts of the house to extreme left and right date to 1924, with a major facade on the left looking toward the garden and away from automobile traffic on the turnpike; its doorway emulates New England colonial examples. On the far side of the house, facing a parking lot, is the addition of 1933.