Client: Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT)

Tweeds Tavern, a log building constructed circa 1790s, was “discovered” during DelDOT’s widening of Route 7 in Hockessin, Delaware. This rest stop for Colonial era travelers was hidden under layers of more contemporary construction. The Hockessin Historical Society and DelDOT collaborated to preserve the former tavern. A permanent home was conceived as the center piece of the proposed nearby Tweeds Park recreation area. The park would include athletic fields, and regional stormwater management facilities, while showcasing the area’s tweeds02history. DelDOT committed to fund the reconstruction of the two-story tavern structure as a visitor’s center for the Hockessin Historical Society.

Duffield Associates was retained to assist DelDOT in planning, designing, and constructing the park facility and the relocated and restored historic Tweeds Tavern.

Because of the historic nature of the project, it was decided to move the tavern piece by piece because:

  • Structural damage during the move would be avoided.
  • Disassembly of portions of the original log structure would be required to facilitate restoration even if it was moved in its entirety.
  • The disassembly enabled expert evaluation of the original structure and finishes.
  • Expensive utility relocations and traffic impacts were avoided.
  • Detailed documentation of early American building construction materials and techniques was achieved

Working closely with DelDOT and the Hockessin Historic Society, and through a unique design build effort, Duffield Associates directed architectural and engineering design, archaeological studies, relocation, construction and restoration of this historic building. The relocation included:

  • Marking elements of the original structure for later identification.
    Gathering material samples that would be subsequently used for display purposes that otherwise might have been significantly damaged or lost during moving.
  • Disassembling the original log structure.
  • Packing of the disassembled log structure for safe transportation and storage at the new site.
  • Creating a secure site for storage and reconstruction of the disassembled structure.
  • Constructing a permanent stone masonry foundation to replicate the original.
  • Reconstructing the original log structure using approximately 40% of the original building materials, which necessitated the rehabilitation of numerous weathered timbers.

This project was awarded an Honors Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies-Delaware.