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Old State House

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1787–1792, Alexander Givan and others. 1873–1875 altered, James H. Windrim. 1909–1912 restored, Edward L. Tilton. 1973–1976 restored, John F. McCune III and William Harkins (for Pope, Kruse and McCune). East side of the Green
  • Old State House

The present structure, center of Delaware government from 1792 to 1932 and now a state museum, replaced the Kent County Courthouse of 1722, supposedly reusing its bricks. The State House's form may have been derived from the Court House in New Castle (NC16), former seat of colonial power. The building became exclusively the capitol when the county moved out in 1873, at which time it was modernized with the addition of a mansard roof and a tower, which historian Harold D. Eberlein later called “ignorant and hideous.” The interior was gutted. In the early twentieth century, preservationist Mabel Lloyd Ridgely agitated for restoration and brought in New York City architect Tilton to restore the exterior (no funds were available for the interior). Tilton made no effort at strict historical accuracy—he employed a gambrel roof, for example. The tower, if oversized, was aesthetically excellent. The legislature moved out in 1933, ending what was believed to be the longest continuous use of any American statehouse.

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard
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Data

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Citation

W. Barksdale Maynard, "Old State House", [Dover, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DE-01-DV14.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 253-254.

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