What is the oldest (still-standing) stone home in the United States? In a state-by-state series, we’ll explore that very topic while highlighting some of the country’s most magnificent structures. Delaware and a little stone farmhouse lovingly referred to as the “Old Swedes House” is the first stop in our tour.
Hendrickson House, Wilmington, DE, circa 1690
This 1 1/2-story farmhouse was built by Swedish settler Hendrick Johansson as a wedding present for his son Anders. Originally nestled along the bank of Crum Creek (from the Dutch, meaning “crooked creek”) in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the home was dismantled in 1958 and rebuilt on its present site at Old Swedes Church.
Although Swedish settlers (the first to establish themselves in Pennsylvania) were credited with introducing the log cabin to America, this home was constructed of fieldstone, which would have been plentiful in and around the homesite. Hendrickson House is a fine example of Swedish Colonial style and originally featured one large room on the first floor and one large bedroom above. The home was owned by four generations of the Hendrickson family before it was sold in 1788 for use as housing for tenant farmers.
“The Crum Creek history reports that the stone house measured 30 by 20 feet and faced southwest overlooking Crum Creek and the Delaware River across to New Jersey. In the center of each of the two longer walls, front and back, was a door, flanked by a window on either side. The gambrel roof was supported by the end walls and by heavy, hand-hewn pine beams which extended two feet beyond the face of the front and rear walls to form protective eaves over the first floor doors and windows. Inside, the northwest wall was completely filled by a huge fireplace, an adjacent wood closet (fed by a hatchway to the outside), and in the right-hand corner, a narrow, winding stair leading to the second floor. The large upstairs room was used for sleeping quarters and was heated by a second fireplace.” Source: Genealogy.com