Delaware Public Media

DNREC to demolish historic barn 15 years after $300k in renovations

Apr 10, 2019

Officials with Delaware’s Division of Parks and Recreation say a historic barn in Brandywine Creek State Park is beyond repair and scheduled for demolition.


The Fenton Barn was built in the mid-1800s and later served as part of a DuPont family dairy farm.

More than $300,000 was spent on renovations to the barn between 2004 and 2006 but a recent structural engineering report says it is at risk of collapse. DNREC deems it a threat to its staff and players on the nearby disc golf course.

“The concern is, with the size of the structure, the roof is looking like it is going to collapse sometime soon and when it does it will start pushing out the stone walls that face some of the other historic buildings around it,” said Matt Chesser, the Preservation Planning Administrator for the Division of Parks & Rec.

Chesser commends the past renovation work on the Fenton Barn for adding 15 more years to its life.

“It bought us some time,” he said. “We always try to save a historic structure when we can, so it was the good fight.”

Chesser adds the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and design was able to document the barn’s construction plan for future recreation.

Parks and Rec maintains 622 buildings throughout Delaware’s 17 parks.

The agency says more than $500,000 has been spent on historic structures in the past several years, in addition to the work on Fenton Barn.

The barn is set for demolition in the coming weeks. Its silo and stone foundation will remain.