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Old Stone Tavern

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c. 1822. East side of Main St., Little Creek
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

The settlement of Little Creek grew up at a wharf on the line between neighboring plantations. This building was never a tavern but rather a house, built by Manlove Hayes Sr. and his wife's cousin, John Bell. A prosperous farmer and politician who operated a steamship line to Philadelphia, Hayes built three nearby structures of stone with corbeled brick cornices: this building; an addition to his house, York Seat (1826, recently demolished); and Octagonal Schoolhouse (1830–1831; KT18). The so-called tavern is of gneiss rich in muscovite. The state geologist, William S. Schenck, tells me that Hayes probably brought the stone by boat from Chester County, Pennsylvania, or possibly from Maryland. Ashlar is used on the front, rubble on sides and back. The stone was stuccoed, traces of which remain. A tax assessment of 1828 for Little Creek Hundred demonstrates the uniqueness of these stone buildings: there were ninety-seven local structures of frame, sixty of log, twenty-seven of brick, and only two of stone. Stone Tavern was restored in 1978 by the state.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Old Stone Tavern", [Dover, 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, 232-233.

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