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Burton-Ingram House

Description

Historic District
No
Name of Property
Burton-Ingram House

0, 0

Until 1962, the Burton-Ingram House was located on the southeast side of Second Street just east of Neils Alley. All the properties on Second Street were laid out in 60 x 200 foot lots when Edmund Cantrell surveyed the town in 1672 for the Duke of York. The first owner of the property was Jon Kipshaven who may have been one of Cornelius Plockhoy's settlers in 1663.

The property on Second Street was purchased by the Silco Company in 1962 from the Ingram heirs. Silco donated the house to the Society, then newly formed. The Society moved it and had it opened to the public for limited tours by the summer of 1963. In 1968, the granddughter of Elisha Burton, Leah Burton Paynter bequethed a part of her estate to the Society and it is displayed within the house.

The influence of Benjamin Latrobe is evident throughout the house, especially in the work of the stairwell. Living room windows are raised, reflecting the desire for privacy when the house was located on Second Street - the heart of Lewes' bustling commercial district. The stairwell in this house is remarkable for Lewes in that is open through three stories and provides impressive views through the entire house. Clearly built by an owner of some means, the house reflects the refinement that was present in Lewes that was most likely imported from Philadelphia. The rear wing of the house is not original but replaces a similar wing that burned in c. 1922. The present wing, comprising the dining room and children's room, was moved from Milton in 1965. While the house's architecture is impressive, the artifacts housed inside are perhaps even more so and include works of art by Ethel Pennewill Brown Leach, Jacob Eichholtz and Betty Harrington MacDonald and fine furnishings by Chippendale and Rittenhouse. Elegant furnishings are found in abundance throughout the house.

Perhaps the most characteristic feature of the house are the front door shutters constructed of cedar planks. The exterior of the house is surrounded by native Delaware plants and trees; including cypress and magnolia. In a brochure entitled Historic Homes of Delaware - 1936, it states that the old Ingram House on Second Street was called "Bluebeard," possibly after John Hammond, who was also known as Blue Burton. Mr. Hammond may have taken mercury which turned his skin blue.

The house is one of the finest in Lewes and is the best example of Federal architecture in town.

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