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James Booth House

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1713–1719 section at right. 1795–1797 extended. 1860s frame section. 216 Delaware St.
  • James Booth House (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • James Booth House (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Deed records for the lot go back to 1670. The original brick section was built by merchant and innkeeper Sylvester Garland for his daughter, Soetje; decades later it was extended eastward, with no attempt to emulate the fine early-eighteenth-century brickwork of the original. The front door with bull's-eye windows dates from the first period of construction; its surround, from the second. The early stairway inside has heavy, turned spindles. Federal-era chimneypieces are richly ornamented. The house changed hands many times before prominent Delawarean James Booth Sr. bought it in 1785. Nine years later he sold it to John Bird, member of the committee that hired Benjamin Henry Latrobe to survey the town. His son, Robert Montgomery Bird, born in the enlarged house, became a famous novelist and playwright. Judge James Booth Jr. later lived here, and when juries deliberated late into the night, he would pull on slippers and gown and dash across the street to hear the verdict.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "James Booth House", [New Castle, 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, 159-159.

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