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The Lewes Maritime Museum at the Cannonball House


118 Front Street
Lewes, DE 19958


March 2024 Hours: 

Thursday through Saturday 

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hours starting April 1, 2024:

Tuesday through Saturday

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hours starting November 5, 2024:

Thursday through Saturday

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: $5 per person, children 12 and under are free. 

$10 per person for multiple Museum admission is available at all sites.


About The Lewes Maritime Museum at the Cannonball House

Please, pardon our appearance!!

The Cannonball House is currently undergoing a thorough evaluation under the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Heritage Documentation Program.  This program is provided by the National Parks Service, United States Department of the Interior.  

In consultation with LHS, the HABS Washington office is conducting a 2023 documentation project at the Cannonball House. The HABS recording team will produce architectural documentation that consists of field measurements, existing condition-measured drawings, digital photographs, and written history.

While this evaluation is in process, the building must not be altered,  and we apologize for our appearance. Significant restoration work to the building will take place soon.

We appreciate your patience during this process.

Sitting prominently on the corner of Front and Bank Streets, the Cannonball House has
witnessed centuries of Lewes’ history unfold and served many purposes over its storied past.
Dating between c. 1740 to c. 1750, the Cannonball House is one of the few intact examples of a
form prevalent in Lewes during the late 18th and early 19th centuries: making economic use of
an early dwelling while adapting to trends in architecture. Elements of its design were influenced
by the building traditions of the diverse cultures that inhabited Lewes, including the Dutch and
English. With its frame construction, this home features indigenous cypress and cedar wood
shingle siding, a feature common to structures of this period in Lewes.

The property where the Cannonball House now sits was deeded by Lewes’ sheriff, John
Jacobs, to Richard Hinman in February 1723, with the lot measuring 60 ft. by 40 ft., which was
one-fourth of a traditionally sized town lot at the time, and facing Front Street. Following the
death of Hinman, ownership briefly fell to his son-in-law and daughter, Captain William and
Naomi Fassit, who sold the property to Lewes shipwright Stephen Green for fourteen pounds in
1742. Green, who practiced his trade on the banks of Lewes Creek, sold the property to Ralph
Brock, a hatter, in November 1752 for forty-eight pounds. The northwest portion of the building
dates to the years of ownership by Green and Brock. Brock, who married Sarah Fisher, dwelled
predominantly in Philadelphia and leased the land to his neighbor, Capt. John Price.

Following Brock’s death in 1760, ownership passed to his daughter, Tabitha, and her
husband, Stephen Wood, a mariner. Over the next thirty years, the home was briefly in the
possession of the Hall family and later leased to George Wiltbank until it was sold at a sheriff’s

In December 1791, a local Revolutionary War veteran, Col. Henry Neill, purchased the
property for forty-one pounds, ten shillings. Neill owned considerable land in Lewes, including
the adjacent northwest property on the corner of Front and Market Streets, where he operated
mercantile and blacksmith shops; and a home two properties over between Front and Second
Streets bordered by Neill’s Alley. Another house between Front and Second Streets belonged to
his second wife, Mary Paynter. Six years later, Neill sold the lot for three hundred and fifty
pounds to Lewes pilot Gilbert McCracken, who lived in the home until 1806, when he sold it to
Ambrose White, Mary Paynter Neill’s nephew. White sold it to John and Mary Thompson in
1808 for $500.

Despite the damage resulting from the British bombardment of Lewes in April 1813, the
Thompsons dwelled in the home for another thirty years before selling the property to William
and Hetty Evans in 1839. Three years later, Lewes native and pilot David J. Rowland purchased
the home for $700 and lived there with his wife, Susan, until he died in 1875. Susan lived in the
home for another thirty-three years, running a notions shop at the rear of the property before
dying intestate in 1917. Following her death, the home passed on to their son, James K.
Rowland, and was sold that same year, with the proceeds divided up among the grandchildren
and heirs of David J. Rowland.

The Fidelity Trust and Saving Bank occupied the property, which looked as it does today,
consisting of “a two-story dwelling house with a single story attached and small outbuilding.”
The Lewes Real Estate Company paid $1,580 for the prime location which, from 1929 to 1963,
served a variety of purposes, including city offices, a printing shop, a laundromat, and the Lewes
Service Station. Joseph Schildknecht also operated “Joe’s Taxi Stand” there for six years.