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The village served the Conestoga trade along the Wilmington and Kennett Turnpike (1811–1813), which is still marked by milestones. Its growth stalled when railroads supplanted wagons. In 1918–1920, DuPont Company president Pierre S. du Pont bought the turnpike, widened the roadbed in concrete, and deeded it back to Delaware, all to speed his commute to Longwood, his manor in Pennsylvania. By that time, du Ponts controlled nearly half of the frontage on the road and were building numerous estates. In Centreville itself, boutiques displaced country stores starting in the 1950s. A historic district was established in 1985, and traffic-calming measures were undertaken on Kennett Pike in 2003, in attempts to retain the community's charm in the face of development pressures.

In the middle of town, the brick James Delaplaine House (c. 1820; 5722 Kennett Pike) has a Doric porch and two doors with fanlights; the smaller led to the living quarters, the larger to a general store and possibly a tavern. Southeast of Centreville stands the extravagant chateau Meown (c. 1930), by the architect of Winterthur, Albert Ely Ives; it is distinguished by its tall Norman tower of stone. Irénée du Pont's sister, Isabella (Mrs. Hugh Rodney Sharp), developed Meown as a country retreat, raising horses and Jersey cattle.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard

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