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An Example of Bygone Glory

Cauffiel House stands as a stunning testament to the tastes and trends of the 1930s.



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Symmetry is a hallmark of the Cauffiel House. Photograph by Jared CastaldiIn 1920, when America was roaring and summer temperatures were soaring, Daniel Cauffiel was intent on creating a calm and cool place.

He found it in an elegant mansion near Bellefonte on a hill overlooking the Delaware River, an ideal site to catch a breeze on a muggy day.

“This was a respite from the city,” says Judi Jeffers, superintendent of special event facilities for Delaware State Parks. “They came here to relax.”

With its artful symmetry, the Cauffiel House is a spot-on example of Georgian Revival architecture. Identical wings enclose one-story sun porches on either side of the main structure, which is two-and-a-half stories high, with a water table that mimics a raised basement.

That symmetry—windows on one side of a room correspond with windows on the opposite wall—also promotes cross ventilation, using the natural flow of air to keep the home cool.

A balanced, open floor plan stimulates social circulation.

“You walk in this house and feel welcome,” Jeffers says. “People say, wow, they can see themselves living here.”

Perhaps that’s because Cauffiel House is miraculously and spectacularly intact, down to the utilitarian porcelain kitchen sink. In 70 years of continuous occupancy, no one ever knocked down a wall, gutted a bath or ripped down the ornate plum-and-lattice patterned wallpaper in the powder room.

The house was designed by Wilmington architect Clarence R. Hope for Cauffiel, the chief real estate officer for the DuPont Co.

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