Built in 1743, the Homestead and its gardens received recognition as an historic property in the National Register of Historic Properties in 1977
The Peter Marsh House or Homestead, is significant as an example of an eighteenth century Sussex County farmhouse which has retained much of its original detail. The house serves as a visual center in the town of Henlopen Acres, a residential community developed in the 1930's and 40's by Colonel Wilbur and Louise Corkran.
Marsh built the cypress-shingled house in 1743 when he purchased portions of land originally patented in 1675 as Young’s Hope Plantation - 300 acres. The old deed mentions “half a plantation house with out-buildings”, and it is possible the one-story kitchen wing is the “half house”. Marsh served as an ensign during the French and Indian Wars. His sons, Peter and Thomas Purnell served in the Revolutionary War. Their family are the desendents of many Sussex County families which was documented in a book entitled the Peter Marsh Homestead (italic) by the Reverend Richard Bailey and can be purchased at the Rehoboth Art League.
When Marsh died in 1769 he left a 2000 plus estate in Sussex County. A portion of this property was willed to Thomas Purnell Marsh which included the Homestead. In 1871 the Marsh family sold the property to the Dodd family, who rented it to tenant farmers. There were no modern improvements.
In 1938 it was purchased by Col. Wilbur and Louise Corkran. Col. Corkran was an architect with great respect for, and interest in colonial heritage. He preserved the original as much as possible, removing the “two-family” additions, built the wing now known as “the apartment” and added the porches. The garage is now the Children’s Art Studio and there is a small music studio in the area that was Col. Corkran’s workshop. The newly renovated home served as a model for the anticipated development of Henlopen Acres. This community is recognized as the only planned resort community of its kind in the Middle Atlantic area, and has remained virtually unchanged since it was developed.