It is believed the Penny House history goes back to when this stone home was first built in 1749 by Arthur Penny. His sons David and William then worked as joiners (cabinet makers) in the house on the popular King's Highway which led north to Philadelphia. Well-known local artist, Robert Shaw (who had grown up in the porter's ledge with his family at nearby Rockwood) moved to the Penny House in 1881. It had been divided into 2 separate residences, each with its own fireplace and stairway. In the late 1940's, Annie Shaw sold it to the the Travis family, who later built many of the homes in Penny Acres and lived in the Penny Barn in back of the house. They converted it to one residence. It was later sold to James W. Bellah, an author of many Western stories which were later turned into films such as "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."
Details such as the beaded beams in the main bedroom show the care that was taken to construct these utilitarian elements and create a graceful room with stone walls creating deep windows looking out on the grounds behind the house. The home was said to have been a toll stop on the Philadelphia Turnpike and became witness to the "W 3R Route" which took the Continental troops over 700 miles from Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. The troops included both Lafayette and Washington (who is said to like to stop for its cool spring water). Probably in the 19th century, a thick stone wall was built to separate this peaceful retreat from the present day Philadelphia Pike.
Today this 3 bedroom home includes a large parlor with what was probably the cooking fireplace, a magnificent piece with some of the legends of the house's history mounted on a wooden plaque over it. At some point probably in the early 20th century, it had been covered over with wallboard and wallpaper. Moving up one of the 2 staircases, we find another beautiful room---the main bedroom on the 2nd level, with the original beaded wooden joists (probably created by the Penny family). Another staircase here leads up to the attic, complete with original rafters imprinted with Roman numerals used to aid in roof construction. The landscaped grounds include a springhouse, the former cow pond, a gazebo made from a Victorian bell tower, a former garage, potting shed, and an outbuilding once used as an antique shop. An album in the house contains many photographs filled with the antiques from that period. The house has been featured on Wilmington Garden Day.
Courtesy of: Patterson-Schwartz-Hockessin Listing information provided courtesy of the Bright MLS. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use, and it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. The data is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Updated: 31st July, 2021 10:13 PM
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