Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green

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Immanuel Episcopal Church
Immanuel Episcopal Church, 1970
Coordinates: 39°39′38.8″N 75°33′45.5″W / 39.660778°N 75.562639°W / 39.660778; -75.562639
Location New Castle, Delaware
Country United States
Denomination Episcopal Church
Founded 1689
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Groundbreaking 1703
Completed 1708
Diocese Delaware
Province III
Rector The Rev'd Christopher P. Keene
Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green
Part of New Castle Historic District (#67000003)
Added to NRHP December 24, 1967[1]

Immanuel on the Green (Episcopal) is an historic church in New Castle, Delaware, listed as a contributing property in the New Castle Historic District.[1] The church is situated near the center of New Castle at the northeast end of the Green, or town common, making it a prominent local landmark and tourist attraction. Operating continuously since 1689, it is the oldest Anglican parish in Delaware and the oldest continuously operating Anglican/Episcopal parish in the country.[2] The church building was constructed between 1703 and 1708 and enlarged in 1822. The interior and roof were rebuilt following a disastrous fire in 1980.


Immanuel Church was founded in 1689 as the first Anglican parish in the present-day state of Delaware, which at the time was still part of Pennsylvania. The first rector was the Rev. George Ross, who served from 1705 to 1708 and then from 1714 to 1754.[3] The church itself was constructed between 1703 and 1708, with the first services taking place there even before the building was completed.[2]

The church gradually fell into disrepair after the American Revolution. In 1820, Philadelphia architect William Strickland undertook a major renovation and expansion of the building which included a new transept, bell tower, steeple, roof, and interior. The interior was remodeled in the 1850s in the Victorian style, and again around 1900 in the Colonial Revival style.[3]

Immanuel Church caught fire on February 1, 1980 when embers from a nearby marsh fire landed on the roof. The roof, steeple, and interior of the building were completely destroyed, leaving only the exterior walls intact. Despite the severe damage, an outpouring of support from around the state that netted more than $2 million made it possible to rebuild the church. Restored to its 1822 appearance, the church was rededicated on December 18, 1982.[2]


Church interior

The National Register of Historic Places listing for the New Castle Historic District describes Immanuel Episcopal Church as a "stuccoed stone, 5 bay, center aisle church with clipped gable roof, and stone and frame spire with clock".[1] The current appearance of the building is mostly due to architect William Strickland, who was responsible for the transept and crenellated tower. The reconstructed roof, steeple, and interior also follow Strickland's design.[2]


Several notable people are interred in the Immanuel Church cemetery:


  1. ^ a b c National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kenney, Edward L. (July 19, 2003). "Immanuel Church is nearing 300". The News Journal. Wilmington, Del. p. B3. 
  3. ^ a b "History of Immanuel". Immanuel Episcopal Church. Retrieved 19 June 2011.