Walking Tour: Watts House, 500 North Street

Watts House

One of the first things you notice about the Watts House is the sheer size of it – which makes it all the more interesting that this was not where it was built! The original home was built for Col. Dempsey Watts in 1799 across from 525 North Street. This proved not to be good placement due to nearby Windmill Creek repeatedly flooding and the house was MOVED to its present location sometime in the 1890s when the creek was filled in (if you live in that corner of Olde Towne, you can vouch that the creek lives on during heavy rains).
The house was passed down to son Captain Watts, who held dinners and parties at this home welcoming the affluent and popular persons of his time. One such guest was Chief Black Hawk who dined with the family many times. It is said that when Captain Watts took Chief Black Hawk to the Navy Yard on a tour, he was unimpressed until he saw the Delaware battleship in dry dock, to which he said “took big man to build that big canoe.”
Henry Clay also dined, danced, and dozed at the home on his presidential campaign tour in 1844. It must have been some party that night because it is reported that he “kissed all the pretty girls” and his teenaged son snuck too much champagne and passed out in one of the bedrooms.
The Watts House is a beautiful home, made all the better by the history that danced within its walls over the past 220 years.