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Zwaanendael Museum (Zwaanendael House)

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Zwaanendael House
1930–1932, E. William Martin. 102 King's Hwy.
  • Zwaanendael Museum (Delaware Postcard Collection, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Del)
  • (Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Lindsay Long)

With funds from the Delaware government, Wilmington architect Martin designed this step-gabled folly to commemorate the Tercentenary of Dutch settlement at Lewes and memorialize those massacred. Now a state museum, it occupies the site of the former Lewes Academy. Martin copied, at reduced scale, one-half of the double-gabled Town Hall at Hoorn, The Netherlands, from which David Pieterssen DeVries, organizer of the Swanendael colony, had come. Hoorn had given some historical mementos to Lewes as early as 1909. In Martin's papers at the University of Delaware are his Hoorn sketches “made under great difficulties in rain and hail” in October 1930. Small bricks were specially made to match the originals, one of which he sent back from Holland by parcel post. The trim is limestone, with red-and-white shutters in the official Hoorn colors. Window frames and doors were a deep Holland blue. The front is wildly picturesque, with richly embellished door surround, striped lintels over the windows, and scrolled crowsteps in the steeply pitched gable. A restoration (1998–2000, Bernardon Haber Holloway) rebuilt the heavy wood front doors and replaced the red tile roof. Inside, the museum has long since expanded to take over the library room upstairs. Among the displays are a chair belonging to a settler in Dagsboro in 1660, and the iron door of 1867 from the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse (1764–1767), a famous colonial landmark that toppled into the sea in April 1926.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Zwaanendael Museum (Zwaanendael House)", [Lewes, 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, 272-272.

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