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Read House when exploring historic New Castle. Located in the heart of Delaware's Colonial
Capital on the Delaware River, three miles south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Read
House and New Castle offer a walk through the past. Built in 1801 by the son of one of
Delaware's signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Read House exhibits the height
of Federal grandeur.
This 22 room, 14,000 square-foot, mansion was the largest
house in Delaware when built, and cost George Read Jr. nearly $12,000 to complete
(approximately $2.5 million today). Elegant and spacious family bedrooms contrast with
cramped servants bedrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen.
Always interested in new technology, Read included
elaborate hot-air roasting ovens and steam tables in his kitchen.
Capturing the gaiety of the Roaring '20s, several rooms in
the house have been preserved as re-decorated by the Laird family in the 1920s.
The rooms include a formal dining room with
hand-painted wallpaper depicting scenes of New Castle and a tap room
decorated like a German rathskellar.
Carefully restored and furnished using extensive
documentation in 1986, the Read House ranks among the best house museums in the country.
The garden at the Read House was installed by the second
owner, William Cooper, in 1847. Still intact after 150 years, the Read House garden ranks
as one of the oldest surviving garden in the region. This garden was
featured in the November 1901 issue of House and Garden magazine
as being significantly old and worthy of note. Encompassing one-and-half acres, the garden
is divided into three sections: a formal parterre flower garden, a specimen garden filled
with exotics and native favorites, and a large fruit orchard and kitchen garden with allees
of pear trees and trellised grapes set by formal boxwood hedges. The restoration of this
significant garden, begun in 1991, continues today.
In addition to a tour of the house, you may also schedule
special visits and group tours featuring:
The Read House has been seen on Good Morning
America and Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America,
as well as many books on historic houses.
Many schools visit the Read House to supplement their
history studies. Our
school programs fill requirements for the
State of Delaware's education standards in history, science, English, math, and art.
The Read House gardens are perfect for
weddings and intimate receptions.