History of the Offices
Procino-Wells & Woodland, LLC is located on the corner of High and Cannon Streets in downtown Seaford, Delaware in a fully renovated, handicap accessible house which is over 130 years old. The house has an interesting history.
Sussex County land records show the Seaford property being conveyed from the Sussex County Sheriff to Robert Ellengood on November 10, 1896. Mr. Ellengood passed away and at his death, the property passed to his three sons, Joshua, Robert and Seth. They sold the property to a single woman from Philadelphia, Mary Fisher, on October 13, 1902.
The City of Seaford’s records show that the house was originally constructed in 1880. The 1902 deed to Miss Fisher described the property as containing a “two story framed dwelling.” Interestingly though the house is actually three stories with a full basement.
On March 13, 1908, Mary Fisher deeded the property to George Huston of Seaford. He passed away in 1936 and left the property to his wife, Sallie Huston. Mrs. Huston died in 1953 and left the home to her daughter, Agnes Huston. Agnes passed away in 1983. The Bank of Delaware was the executor of Agnes’ estate and sold the property to David Karl Mayer from Dewey Beach, Delaware on February 7, 1984. Reportedly, Mr. Mayer operated an antiques business on the first floor of the house.
Mr. Mayer later sold the property to Philip and Cynthia Fitzsimmons of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania on May 23, 1989. Initially, the Fitzsimmons also operated an antiques store on the first floor, but Mrs. Fitzsimmons later opened a preschool for 3 & 4 year old children. The school was named “Riverview Preschool.”
Michele Procino-Wells’ son, Joshua, attended the preschool in 2004 and 2005. In fact, Joshua was a member of the last “graduating class” of the preschool in June 2005. After the Fitzsimmons closed the school in 2005, Michele purchased the property from them on January 25, 2006.
After months of planning and obtaining the necessary approvals, permits and financing, renovations to the property began in the fall of 2006. Renovations were completed and the firm moved into the newly renovated building on May 10, 2007.
The home we use for our Lewes office is rich in history. James T. Lank built the home for his family with materials he acquired from another historic building; the Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Station was established as part of the national quarantine system, designed to check passengers for disease before gaining entry to the country. The Delaware Breakwater Station also served as a Navy base during WWI. In 1926, the building was dismantled, and some materials were recycled for local homes, like ours, built with bricks and beams from the Surgeon’s Quarters at the quarantine station.
The trees surrounding our office were not native to Delaware when the home was built. James T. Lank brought Southern flowers and trees back to his home from his travels. Because of his care, we now have full-grown hickory, elm, boxwood, and walnut trees surrounding our PWW office.
Another feature constructed with local recycled materials is the fireplace. The bricks seen inside the fireplace are from the old Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. Built in 1764, the lighthouse was among the first in the American Colonies. Due to natural erosion, the foundation became unstable, and it collapsed on April 13, 1926. Following the destruction, locals collected bricks from the beloved landmark to use in historic houses around the town.
One of our estate planning clients lovingly informed us of the interesting nature of the flooring. The floors are made from old grove southern heart pine. This wood was one of the most valued building materials in the 19th century and continues to be renowned. These trees range from 80 to 120 feet tall, require 100 to 150 years to become full size, and can live up to 500 years.
The most recent owners of the dwelling contributed the built-in cabinet in the larger conference room and the storage area under the stairs. Tom, father to the owners and grandfather to their children, built these additions to the home his family lived in. The built-in cabinet is often inquired about by our clients who sit in the larger conference room, and most are surprised to learn it was not a part of the original home. The care to make these new features match the original character of the home is proof of the love with which Tom built them.
Procino-Wells & Woodland, LLC created a physical presence in eastern Sussex in September 2014 by renting an office near Five Points. After a lengthy renovation experience of the current property in 2019, the home was ready to be used as our permanent commercial space in March 2020. Today, the PWW team enjoys the home’s character and comfort, most of which was kept in tact during the transition to a business office.