An Example of Bygone Glory

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

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The house retains all the beautiful features it had when built in the 1920s. Photograph by Jared CastaldiConcrete gate posts by the drive are the only remnants of fences that once kept livestock in and intruders out. But the apple and pear trees planted by the Cauffiels’ gardeners are still bearing fruit. Old-fashioned forsythia, lilacs and peonies unfurl in succession each spring.

Abandoned railroad tracks form the skeleton of a walking trail. But in the 1870s, the rails hummed with trains hauling stone from the Bellevue Quarry, north to Philadelphia and south to Wilmington and Baltimore.

Today the trains are silent. Cars and trucks rumble on the highway that separates the grand house from the river. Visitors are occasionally delighted by the sight of cruise ships gliding like huge swans up the Delaware.

Though the servants are gone, the state does rent bedrooms to guests on a case-by-case basis.

“There’s no TV, no phones, no computers—pretty much like it was in the 1930s,” Jeffers says. 

Page 6: Get the Look