Purnell Fleetwood House

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NRHP Listing Date


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Built around 1890, the Purnell Fleetwood House is a prominent landmark in the town of Waverly in Sussex County, important for its architecture and its namesake, the “father” of Waverly. Born and raised in Sussex County, Delaware, Purnell Fleetwood, at age 22, moved to Waverly in 1869 to work for a family friend who had opened a mercantile. Purnell soon established his own mercantile and farming enterprise, and during the next 50-plus years, ever industrious, grew his store and farming business, managed Waverly Peanut Company, and established the Bank of Waverly, while directing other area banks. In February 1879, along with several key Waverly property owners, he oversaw the incorporation of town of Waverly. Befitting his social status and wealth, his house, a 5,000-plus square-foot residence, is an exuberant example of the Queen Anne style. Resting on a brick foundation, the frame dwelling has weatherboard siding, fish scale shingles, a polychromatic patterned, tall, hipped slate roof, lower cross gables on four elevations, projecting bays, a rear wing, jig sawn trim, elaborate brackets, and three original—front, side, and balcony—porches. The interior’s original floorplan remains largely intact, retaining original mantels, interior shutters, stairs and newel post, decorative hardware and wood trim. The town of Waverly prospered through Purnell’s vision and during his lifetime in commerce and politics–he once refused a nomination for state senator. He died in 1928.

Last Updated: April 20, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


Waverly Downtown Historic District

Sussex (County)


Cactus Hill Archaeological Site

Sussex (County)



Sussex (County)