Thanks to the Center for Historic Architecture and Design at the University of Delaware, much has recently been learned about early Sussex County buildings. One revelation is the persistence of the one-room “hall” plan house (even into the nineteenth century), often with relatively elaborate Federal interiors—a so-called mansion. The McGee House, studied in 1986, originally consisted of a hall 16 × 18 feet in area. Federal paneling covered the fireplace wall and included glass-fronted bowfats (built-in cupboards). Later it was expanded into a hall-parlor plan and clad in cypress shingles. The house was built using H-bents, defined by architectural historians Gabrielle Lanier and Bernard Herman (1997) as “transverse, H-shaped structural units consisting of upper-story floor joists tenoned into principal posts.” The house was moved here in 1960.
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