Delaware Historical Society

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Delaware Historical Society
Delaware Historical Society Logo.png
Logo of the Delaware Historical Society
Delaware Historical Society is located in Delaware
Delaware Historical Society
Location in Delaware
Established 1864 (1864)
Location 504 N. Market St., Wilmington, Delaware
Coordinates 39°44′34″N 75°33′01″W / 39.742785°N 75.550382°W / 39.742785; -75.550382
Type History
Director Joan Reynolds Hoge
Curator Stephanie Przybylek
Public transit access Wilmington Amtrak Station
Website Official Website

The Delaware Historical Society began in 1864 as an effort to preserve documents from the Civil War. Since then, it has expanded into a state-wide historical institution with several venues and a major museum in Wilmington and the historic Read House & Gardens in New Castle.

The society participates in joint marketing with the Delaware Tourism Office, the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Brandywine Museums & Gardens Alliance.[1]

Delaware History Center[edit]

Delaware History Museum

The Society's Wilmington Campus is located between 5th and 6th Streets on Lower Market Street in Wilmington. This row is the historic shopping district and currently markets itself as the LoMa Design District to promote urban redevelopment. The complex includes an arch over the street.

Delaware History Museum[edit]

The main museum consists of three rotating exhibit halls in a converted 1941 art deco Woolworth's store, one of two that used to operate on Market Street. Exhibits include costumes, children's toys and folk art.[2]

Old Town Hall[edit]

Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall served as the city hall for the Burough and later City of Wilmington. Constructed in 1798 in the federal style, the building also included the jail and library. The Marquis de Lafayette received a reception there and President Andrew Jackson was the guest of honor at a dinner. In 1851, the body of Senator Henry Clay was officially laid in state.

Willingtown Square[edit]

Willingtown Square

Willingtown Square is a collection of buildings relocated from other sections of downtown to make way for high rise construction. Started as part of the bicentennial celebration in 1976, the square is named after Thomas Willing, the founder of Wilmington. [3]

The buildings interiors serve as office and meeting space for the society but patrons can access the courtyard and grounds.

Flemish bond brick pattern.
[4] Building Name Built Construction Original Use Relocated
Cook-Simms House 1778 Flemish bond Herbal medicine shop, Residence 1976
Catherine Coxe House 1801 Band Box Residence 1976
Margaret Coxe House 1801 Band Box Residence 1976
Jacobs House 1748 Flemish bond Residence 1976
Jacob Dingee House 1771 Flemish bond Cabinet workshop, Residence 1976
Obidiah Dingee House 1773 Flemish bond Cabinet workshop, Residence 1976

Library & Research Center[edit]

Library and Research Center

The society provides free access to a research library with unique special collections. The collection includes work on Delaware genealogy, maps, and underground railroad as well as a letter from George Washington to Caesar Rodney.[5] Senator William V. Roth's widow donated all of his papers to the library.[6] The library is open Mondays from 1pm to 9pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 1pm, Fridays from 9am to 5pm, and the third Saturday of every month from 10am to 4pm.

Located at 505 North Market Street, a former Artisans Savings Bank branch location houses the library. Tilghman Ware Company built the art deco structure in 1930-31.[7]

Read House & Gardens[edit]

Located in New Castle on the Strand, the George Read II House was built in 1801 by the son of George Read, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house was the largest in the state at the time it was built with 22 rooms covering 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2). [8] The house also includes a rathskeller in the basement that served as a speakeasy. This dates from the 1920s when the Laird family owned the house and were bootleggers. The house was restored in 1986. [9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2 museums drop entrance fee". The News Journal. 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2009-02-01. [dead link]
  2. ^ Delaware Historical Society. Brandywine Treasures. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  3. ^ Pfingsten, William (2008-08-31). Willington Square. The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  4. ^ Willington Square. Historical Society of Delaware. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  5. ^ Research Library. Delaware Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  6. ^ Harrison Wick '00. Washington College. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  7. ^ Historic Building Notes on Selected Market Street Properties. East Coast Greenway. 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  8. ^ Read House & Gardens. Historical Society of Delaware. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  9. ^ New Castle Attractions. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 

External links[edit]