In 1763, Dr. David Stewart ambitiously planned a grain-shipping town around his existing brick house in this marshy district along the Delaware River. He dreamed of someday rivaling Philadelphia, but success eluded him and Port Penn remains tiny today. In their book Everyday Architecture of the Mid-Atlantic, architectural historians Gabrielle Lanier and Bernard Herman discuss the town and its architecture in detail. Seeking to preserve this unique enclave, the State of Delaware bought several properties in the 1990s. A Port Penn Interpretive Center has been established in a schoolhouse of 1886. The Stewart House (1740s) on Stewart Street is an outstanding, virtually unrestored center-passage brick house that lies somewhat askew from the streetgrid. Various features point to its early date: glazed-header Flemish bond brick-work, with extensive English bond; stringcourse; a pent eave and cove cornice (both now missing). Windows were replaced with large panes of glass in the nineteenth century.
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