On June 3, 2015, the Zwaanendael Club graciously transferred the deed of the Zwaanendael Clubhouse at 302 Savannah Road in Lewes to The Lewes Historical Society for $1.00. The Society's 13th major property, it will house the Society's museum shop beginning in 2016. In the interim, the Society will have it open for special occasions and looks forward to welcoming visitors from around the corner and around the globe to discover Lewes. As museum shop functions leave the Society-owned Ryves Holt House, located at Second & Mulberry Streets, interpretation at the Ryves Holt will focus on the theme “from settlement to statehood” in keeping with the structure's recent inclusion in First State National Historical Park.
“We are very grateful for the relationship we have developed with the Zwaanendael Club over the years and are humbled that they trust us with such an important and prominent Lewes landmark,” says Mike DiPaolo, Lewes Historical Society Executive Director.
In 1905, thirty women met to organize a Lewes chapter of the Century Club, later to become affiliated with the Delaware Federation of Women's Clubs. They called the club Zwaanendael, commemorating the town's Dutch settlement of the same name in 1631. During this time, the club ladies were busy doing good works in the community and raising funds for a new building. Their dreams were realized when Virginia Mustard, widow of Lewis W. Mustard, deeded the property in 1929 to the club for the sum of $1.00, although the deed was not recorded until 1931. The building is important in Lewes's early history, but more important is the work of the organization and it's civic-minded members. The club’s mission is to support the International General Federation of Women’s Clubs by supporting the local community through volunteering their time and resources to those members of the community in need. Bricks and mortar don't tell the whole story of the club.
Built in 1898, the clubhouse was originally the home of the Sussex Trust Company and remained as such until the bank relocated in 1921 to a new facility at 134 Second Street, currently the location of M&T Bank. Eventually it would come under the ownership of the Mustard family and in 1929 Virginia Layton Mustard transferred the deed to the Zwaanendael Club for $1.00.
For more information about the Zwaanendael Club, visit www.gfwczwaanendael.com; for more information about The Lewes Historical Society visit www.HistoricLewes.org.