First Broiler House

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First Broiler House
First Broiler House is located in Delaware
First Broiler House
First Broiler House is located in the US
First Broiler House
Location University of Delaware Experimental Station, Georgetown, Delaware
Coordinates 38°38′9″N 75°27′16″W / 38.63583°N 75.45444°W / 38.63583; -75.45444Coordinates: 38°38′9″N 75°27′16″W / 38.63583°N 75.45444°W / 38.63583; -75.45444
Area 0 acres (0 ha)
Built 1923
NRHP Reference # 74000607[1]
Added to NRHP July 3, 1974

The First Broiler House, also known as Mrs. Wilmer Steele's Broiler House, is preserved at the University of Delaware Agricultural Experiment Station near Georgetown, Delaware as an example of a chicken house that was widely used to raise broiler chickens in Delaware during the 1920s. An example of an individual-colony house, the 16-foot (4.9 m) square wood frame building housed 500 chickens. It was provided with a coal stove.[2]

Celia Steele of Oceanview, Delaware was the first person in Delaware to raise chickens specifically for meat production, separately from her laying flock that was primarily meant to produce eggs. The wife of a Coast Guardsman stationed at the Bethany Beach Lifesaving Station,[3] she raised her first flock of 500 in 1923, selling 387 two-pound chickens for 67 cents per pound. In 1924 she started 1000 chickens. In 1925 Mrs. Steele started 10,000. The industry expanded from there, reaching 3 billion chickens per year fifty years later in 1973.[2]

The broiler house has been moved from its original site at the Steele farm and has been repaired. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 3, 1974.[1]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Gordy, J. Frank (August 31, 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: First Broiler House" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 25 October 2011.  and Accompanying photos
  3. ^ "Celia Steele and the Broiler Industry". History of Sussex County. Sussex County, Delaware. Retrieved 25 October 2011.