Walking Tour of Historic Georgetown, Delaware

Georgetown was established in 1791 by an act of the Delaware General Assembly removing the Sussex County Seat of government from Lewis on the coast to a more central location. The site of the town was purchased on May 9, 1791, and surveyed into 60 x 120 foot lots, which were sold to defray the cost of the land purchase.

The town was eventually laid out in a circle one half mile in all directions from The Circle and it was governed directly by the legislature until the mid 1800s. The circular boundary was broken in 1986.

Although relatively young for many communities in Sussex County, Georgetown has some of the finest homes and unique architectural styles in Delaware.

Enjoy your tour through our historic County Seat.
*Walking Tour of Georgetown
1. The Circle. Or Public Square designed by Commissioner Rhoads Shankland following the purchase of 76 acres for the new Sussex County seat on May 9, 1791. Legend has it that a slave girl named Liz was responsible for plowing the center of the Town Square and planting the trees there. The Circle is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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2. New Sussex County Court House. 1 the Circle. Designed by renowned architect William Strickland, the structure was built between 1837-1839 on the same location as the Old Courthouse. The portico and cupola were added in 1914.
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3. Town Hall. 39 The Circle. Formerly the site of a Tavern built in 1820 and called the "Rising Sun," the brick structure was built in 1921 for the Delaware Trust Company. The building was donated to the Town in 1965 by Wilmington Trust Company.
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4. Old Fire Hall. 37 The Circle. The first fire apparatus was purchased in 1831 and the Georgetown Fire Company was organized in 1903. The company moved to the old firehall building on The Circle in 1930 and to their new building on South Bedford Street in 1966.
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5. The Mansion House. 28 The Circle. The Greek Revival style of the front section of the structure dates to 1830-1866. The older back portion is believed to have been constructed in 1799. The home was once owned by Charles Sudler Richards, who served as Delaware Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.
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6. The Paynter House. 26 The Circle. Constructed in the early 1800s, the house was occupied by the Paynter Family, which owned Clayfield Farm for a time. The Paynter Family included physicians, a bank president, and a Delaware Supreme Court Justice.
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7. Dr. Joseph B. Waples House. 4 West Market Street. Constructed in the 1800s, the house was home to the Town's dedicated physician. His office was next to his home adjacent to Sussex County Family Court.
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8. The Brick Hotel. 18 The Circle. The inn was constructed in 1836 and served as the Sussex County Courthouse during construction of the new Courthouse.
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9. Old Farmers Bank. 13 The Circle. Farmer's Bank was chartered in 1807 and a fine brick structure built in 1852. The present Georgian-style structure was constructed in1971. Farmers Bank was sold in 1981. Mellon Bank acquired the bank in 1983.
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10. Old Georgetown Post Office. 2 The Circle. After 33 separate postmasters and post offices scattered throughout the Town, the cornerstone of the old post office was laid on June 4, 1932 and cost $63,452. The structure was acquired in 1994 by the Sussex County Council as meeting chambers and councilmen offices.
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11. Old Sussex County Court House. 10 South Bedford Street. Constructed in 1791-1792 to meet the exact dimensions of the former County Courthouse in Lewes and moved from its original Circle location in 1837 to make way for the present courthouse. The structure was restored in 1976 and is the oldest wooden Courthouse still in use by the court system (on occasion). The building is open for public tours on the first Wednesday of each month and by appointment. For tour information call 855-9660.
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12. New Century Club Building.10 West Pine Street. Constructed in 1926, the building now houses the Georgetown Library.
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13. The Sorden-Rollins House.103 West Pine Street. The Greek Revival style structure was constructed between 1791-1801.
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14. Clayfield Farm. 228 South Front Street. The home was built in 1841 by the son of U.S. Senator William Wells and once owned by Judge James M. Tunnell, Jr., a Delaware Supreme Court Justice.
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15. The Benton Harris House.14 South Front Street. The front section of the house was constructed in 1795 by Georgetown's first storekeeper. When he became postmaster in 1799, the home became the post office as was the custom of the time.
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16. Dr. Stephen Green House.8 South Front Street. The oldest section of the house dates to before 1810 and in about 1868 had a three-bay section added. Dr. Green was a physician and served as Justice of the Peace in 1836 and 1851.
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17. The Judges. 104 West Market Street. Built in 1809 by Judge Peter Robinson, the Early-Georgian structure has served as the home of several judges, State Supreme Court Justices and two Delaware Secretary's of State.
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18. The Peter S. Faucett House.11 West Laurel Street. An excellent example of joining two separate 3-bay houses, the oldest section was believed to have been constructed about 1830.
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19.The Alfred Robinson House. 112 North Bedford Street. Constructed on The Circle before 1800, this grand residence was moved to its present location in 1857. The giant Magnolia tree is said to have been a gift of a sea captain in the late 1850s.
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20.Wesley United Methodist Church. 10 North Race Street. It is said that Francis Asbury preached in what would become the Town as early as 1779, although no edifice was constructed until 1802 on West Pine Street near the Church cemetery. Two church buildings later, the present sanctuary was constructed in 1896. The parsonage was added in 1907.
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21.Masonic Lodge.151 East Market Street. Constructed in 1843, the Masonic Hall was called the Georgetown Academy and was built with funds raised through a lottery approved by the Legislature for construction of the school on the first floor. The Academy closed in 1885 and the portico was added in 1920.
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22. St. Paul's Episcopal Church. 122 East Pine Street.Organized in 1794, a wood frame structure was built in 1804. The brick structure was constructed in 1844. A fire in 1987 destroyed the parish house inn the rear. It was rebuilt in 1990.
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23. The Old Academy.104 East Pine Street. Private school instruction began in Georgetown in 1812 and its first building was constructed in 1836, it was so named to distinguish is from the Masonic Hall, called the New Academy. Near St. Paul's Church, Georgetown School was constructed in 1885.
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24. Nutter D. Marvel Museum. 508 South Bedford Street. A collection of unique structures displaying memorabilia and photographs of old Georgetown and Sussex County and several historic horse drawn carriages assembled by Mr. Marvel and donated to the Town of Georgetown after his death in 1988. The Museum is operated by the Georgetown Historical Society. For tour information call 855-9660.
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