In 1920 the Laird family sought to preserve historic properties located on The Strand in New Castle, Delaware and so they bought the Read House. The Read House was built by George Read II between 1801 and 1804. Members of the Read family lived in the house until 1846 when it was purchased by the Couper family, who lived there until they sold it to the Laird family.
The Lairds sought to restore the Read House and other homes in New Castle. The Read House also had gardens which Philip and Lydia Laird restored. The Laird family added modern features to the gardens and the home, and they even built a swimming pool in the rear of the gardens. Philip Laird purchased a number of properties on the street besides the Read House, and they were a major force in the preservation of New Castle. The Laird family gave the house and its contents to the Delaware Historical Society in 1975.
The Read House had belonged to an important Delaware family. George Read (1733-1798) was a lawyer and lived in New Castle, Delaware. Read was appointed royal attorney general for the Three Lower Counties in 1763. He resigned in 1774 to serve in the First Continental Congress. George Read signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States; played an important role in the creation of Delaware’s Constitution of 1776; and served in the United States Senate as chief justice of Delaware. George Read II (1765-1836) was the son of George Read (1733-1798). George Read II served as United States district attorney for Delaware between 1789 and 1817. He was responsible the construction of the Read House in the early 19th century.