HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The Village of Montchanin is located in the Northeast corner of Delaware. Rolling countryside surrounds the village, which lies approximately five miles from the city of Wilmington. The initial settlement at Montchanin was situated on the triangular plot, approximately 2.4 acres, formed by the intersection of three roadways. Route 100 originally defined the Western boundary of the village, known as Centre Road and later as Chadds Ford Road. To the North, the boundary was Route 82, Kirk Road. The third boundary to the Southwest was Rockland Road, known historically as Wagon or Wagoner's Road. This road pattern appears on eighteenth century plots and maps and may represent earlier Indian trails in the lower Brandywine Valley. The central triangular form remains to this day and is now the central core of The Inn at Montchanin Village.




The Village of Montchanin has subsequently expanded beyond the boundaries of the triangular plot. To the North, a mid-nineteenth century farmstead has been incorporated within the village. With the establishment of rail lines to the Southeast of Rockland Road, in the late nineteenth century, several support facilities were built including a railroad station, warehouses and coal magazines. The village today encompasses approximately 20 acres of land. It contains 21 structures and an unknown number of foundations of older buildings that are no longer visible. Its topography has been an important consideration in the development of Montchanin. The steep slope precluded any formalized grid plan. The buildings are clustered along intersecting roadways. The various paths, carriage ways, gardens, enclosures and minor garden structures, combine to form a series of closures and vistas that would not be possible on flat plane. Presently the focal point of the area is the 1889 frame, stick-style railroad station situated off Rockland Road.

The core of the district is the triangular area, which was the original village. It also holds the greatest concentration of structures. At its Southern point, the intersection of Route 100 with Rockland Road, the focus of this area is an 1890 stone schoolhouse. To the North along Route 100 is a brick and stucco structure, with Tuscan detailing, which was originally a blacksmith shop, presently serves as Krazy Kat's Restaurant. Atop the restaurant, you will find the Crow's Nest, available for private parties. Other buildings are either stucco with Tuscan detail or of the stick frame-style. The farmhouse, also of Tuscan detail, is a large pink stucco building. To the East of the Pink House is the Dilwyne Barn, which houses Guest Reception, the Dilwyne Conference Room and the Dilwyne Gathering Room on the main floor. To the rear of the Pink House is the bank barn, a stone and frame structure, which dates from 1850.

In architectural and aesthetic terms, the importance of Montchanin Village is found in the character and harmony of the whole village rather than in the outstanding significance of any of its parts.

A majority of the early inhabitants were mill laborers who worked at the nearby duPont Black Powder Mills and factories along the Brandywine. Stonemasons also found their homes here.

Montchanin was not originally, nor is it presently, noted for distinctiveness of its individual buildings. The various cottages, dating circa 1840 through the early twentieth century, reflect a wide range of architectural styles but are executed in a manner that tells more about regional variations then purely stylistic forms. The buildings for the most part are constructed of local materials with stone, stucco and wood predominating.

The introduction of rail lines in 1869 was clearly the most important stage in the history of Montchanin. It might be assumed that the village developed after and as a result of their introductions. However, documentary and architectural evidence indicate that the initial development took place in the first or second quarter of the nineteenth century. The village was a crossroads settlement, providing services and housing for the surrounding countryside. By 1859, it contained two houses, a blacksmith shop, workshops and a schoolhouse. The largest period of growth occurred between 1870 and 1910, a growth related to the railroad.

The Wilmington and Northern Railroad Company, later the Wilmington and Reading Railroad, laid it first lines in 1869 from Wilmington, Delaware to Coatesville, Pennsylvania. By 1874, the line reached Reading, Pennsylvania and provided important markets to Central Pennsylvania. Because of its proximity to the upper yards of the duPont Powder Mills, Montchanin then known as duPont Station, became the major station for the shipment of black powder. Warehouses were constructed in 1880 to store items to be shipped to the upper yards and mills of Rockland Road. The railroad provided the village with an economic base that did not exist prior to that time.

In 1889, a permanent railroad station was constructed and a post office was permanently established. Rural deliveries were made from this branch to Rockland, Centreville, and the surrounding countryside. In the same year the village was named in honor of Ann Alexandrine de Montchanin, the emigrant mother of Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours (1739-1817).

Interesting Facts

1. By 1859, the Village contained two tenant houses, a blacksmith shop, workshops and a schoolhouse. Its period of largest growth occurred between 1870 and 1910, just after the Wilmington and Northern Railroad laid tracks from Coatesville, Pennsylvania to Wilmington, Delaware in 1869. By 1874, the line reached Reading, Pennsylvania and provided important markets to Central Pennsylvania.

2. Because Montchanin was so close to the duPont powder mills, the rail station at Montchanin was known as duPont Station. It became the major whistle-stop for the shipment of black powder.

3. In 1889, a permanent railroad station was constructed and a post office was established. That same year, the village was officially named, in honor of Anne Alexandrine de Montchanin, mother of Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours.

4. The portrait in the Dilwyne Gathering Room is owner, Mrs. Lickle's grandmother, Margaretta Lammot duPont Carpenter.

5. The Inn at Montchanin Village officially opened on June 13, 1996.

6. The pink house was named after Colonel Henry Algernon duPont. He is the son of Eleuthere Irénée duPont - founder of E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co.

7. Mrs. Nancy (Missy) Lickle is 7th generation of Mrs. Anne Alexandrine de Montchanin.

8. Krazy Kat's Restaurant is housed in a renovated blacksmith's shop with its original forge now raised and used as a fireplace during the winter.

9. Krazy Kat's Restaurant is named for an eccentric woman who used to live on the ground floor of the blacksmith shop. Owner Missy Lickle recalls that her grandmother referred to the woman as "one crazy cat." She owned two dogs but no cats.

10. President Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived by rail to Montchanin in 1937 for the wedding of his son Franklin Jr. to Ethel duPont.

11. Privy Lane is lined with the original privies used for decades before the introduction of indoor plumbing.

12. Latitude Paris France 48;51;00 degrees North by 2;20;00 degrees East. Latitude Montchanin, Delaware 39;47;23 degrees North by 75;35;22 degrees West.

13. Montchanin, Delaware is 3741 miles (6021 kilometers) from Montchanin, France.

14. The wooden cat sitting regally in front of Krazy Kat's restaurant used to sit in front of the Liberty Department Store in London, England dating back to 1928.