Commission OKs plans for historic building

By Brandon Klein - [email protected]

The Delaware Historic Preservation approved the renovation proposal for the historic Mrs. Murray’s School.

The 15 N. Franklin St. building is considered the oldest residence on its original site in the city. AlerStallings LLC, now located at 593 Sunbury Road, specializes in elder law and estate planning. The firm wants to purchase the building.

It would renovate the exterior of the the front and rear of the building and make it handicapped accessible, which would include building a new sidewalk to connect with a new ramp, according to a city staff report.

“I think your proposal is very sensitively done,” commission Chairman Roger Koch told the architect. “… I’m delighted this property is going to be renovated and reused in an appropriate fashion.”

Bids are now being accepted for the project, according to the architect.

Sophia Moore built the house in 1821 as a combined school and orphanage. Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, attended the school in the late 1820s.

It was known as Mrs. Murray’s School after Joan Hills Murray began teaching at the school with her husband in 1826. The building was a residence from 1950s through the 1980s.

The 3,200-square-foot building is a contributing structure on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was used as a law office from 1989 to 2007 until St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Delaware purchased it. The church uses the site for offices and rental space.

By Brandon Klein

[email protected]

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.