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Huguenot House (Elias Naudain House)

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Elias Naudain House
c. 1735 section at left. After 1749 enlarged. c. 1825–1850 period kitchen wing. DE 9 at Taylor's Bridge
  • Huguenot House (Elias Naudain House) (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Huguenot House (HABS)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Marshy Blackbird Creek provides the scenic locale for this primitive-looking brick dwelling. Historians have recently moved its construction two decades later than the long supposed date of 1711. They believe that Huguenot colonist Elias Naudain purchased the property in 1735 and probably built the first, eastern section of the main block, 22 × 35 feet, with a pent eave (the joist-holes of which remain) and little porthole windows in the attic of the gable. (Historians once thought that the west part of the main block was first, plus the wing.) Naudain's son Andrew lived here from 1749 to 1769, and presumably it was he who extended the house twenty-five feet, making it center passage. The extensive paneling inside the dwelling dates from this campaign. William Corbit owned the house starting in 1816. Fortunately, the tenant farmers who long occupied the place made few changes. Architect Laussat R. Rogers studied it for HABS in 1936 and noted the stateliness of the first story, with its big, twelve-over-twelve lights widely spaced and the lofty stringcourse. The roof is low-pitched, adding to the walls' apparent immensity. A giant sycamore before the door—its companion appears as a stump in photographs of the 1930s—recalls the account of Peter Kalm, who traveled in the Mid-Atlantic in the 1740s, of the popularity of this species in dooryard settings. A barn (1827) survived in ruinous condition until it was demolished in the early 1990s, a period during which the Huguenot House was, for a time, abandoned. It grew dilapidated and had its front doorlock, cupboard doors, and several huge floorboards stolen. New owners since 1995 are gradually refurbishing the place. Also in the Taylors Bridge vicinity stood the important brick gambrel-roofed Liston House (1739), destroyed by fire a few years ago.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


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W. Barksdale Maynard, "Huguenot House (Elias Naudain House)", [Townsend, 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, 221-223.

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