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Georgetown Town

Georgetown Town Hall is located at 39 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947; phone: 302-856-7391.

Beginnings [1]

The county seat of Georgetown was laid out by order of the Delaware General Assembly in 1791. The first courthouse was a small, two-story frame and shingle building situated on the Public Square and Circle. A brick jail house was built at the same time, doubtless to increase its resistance to fire and attempts at escape by prisoners. During the first three decades of the 19th century, the town was served by a frame and shingle inn situated on the square, directly across from the courthouse. During the 1830s it became increasingly obvious that both the courthouse and inn were too small and both were replaced by brick structures, a good deposit of suitable clay having been located just to the west of Georgetown. In 1836 the Brick Hotel was built by two local builders, Joshua S. Layton and Caleb B. Sipple. The following year it was deemed necessary to replace the existing wooden courthouse with a larger brick structure. The old courthouse was sold and moved from its location on the Circle to make room for the new building.

From 1837 until the completion of the new courthouse in 1839, sessions of the various Sussex County Courts were held at the Brick Hotel. The structure also served as lodging and an informal club for the Delaware Bar as the courts moved from county to county, coming to Georgetown at intervals during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  1. Dick Carter, Sussex County Planning and Zoning Department, The Brick Hotel, nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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