The oldest Irish Bar in Delaware
The oldest Irish Bar in Delaware and the oldest continuous family-owned Irish bar in the country, Kelly’s has enjoyed being at the center of the Forty Acres, (now Trolley Square) since 1864. A National Historic Site, it has been the hub for St. Patrick’s Day for close to 150 years. Kelly’s Logan House presently offers tavern, dining, and banquet facilities, as well as live entertainment.
Built in 1864, the Logan House was originally constructed as a resort hotel to be the center of activity for the community of small houses located nearby. A large skating pond, known as Sylvan Lake, was developed opposite the Logan House, to provide winter recreation and encompassed the entire block extending to 14th Street and covering the block between DuPont and Scott Streets. Across DuPont Street from the Logan House stood the Wilmington City Horse Railway Terminal, which opened in 1864.
The Logan House owes its name to General John A. Logan, a famous Union Army General who among other things instituted Memorial Day. Many streets in Trolley Square are named for Civil War references such as Union Street, Grant Avenue, Lincoln Street, and DuPont Street, after Admiral Samuel F. DuPont.
In the early days, the Logan House flourished in part because of its proximity to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad station, which was situated across Delaware Avenue. Travelers would frequently stop by for a meal or drink and then stay for the night. Guests of the Logan House included Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, John L. Sullivan, and Al Capone.
On September 4, 1889, John D. “Whiskers” Kelly and his wife, Hannah Golden Kelleher Kelly purchased the Logan House. The three-story Italianate structure served as a tavern on the ground floor, a residence for the Kelly family on the second floor, and a hotel on the third floor. John and Hannah’s five children– John D., Jr., Mary (who later became an Ursuline Nun), Elizabeth, Daniel, and Joseph were born in the building. The Kelly family later built and moved to a house on Kentmere Parkway. Whiskers took pride in helping any and all Irish immigrants arriving from the train station across the street – he would provide them temporary food and shelter, and then secure a job for them, usually at the DuPont Company or the nearby Bancroft Mill.
The Kelly Family has retained ownership of the Logan House since 1889. John D. Kelly III, former New Castle County Sheriff and Register in Chancery managed the Logan House with his sparkling comic and generous personality for decades until his death in 2003. Presently, Loretta Kelly, along with her son Michael, owns this renowned landmark – listed on the “National Register of Historic Places.”