Old Customshouse (Wilmington, Delaware)

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Old Customshouse
Old custom House.JPG
Old Customshouse in front of the new Courthouse
Old Customshouse (Wilmington, Delaware) is located in Delaware
Old Customshouse (Wilmington, Delaware)
Old Customshouse (Wilmington, Delaware) is located in the United States
Old Customshouse (Wilmington, Delaware)
Location516 N. King St., Wilmington, Delaware
Coordinates39°44′29″N 75°32′57″W / 39.741318°N 75.549180°W / 39.741318; -75.549180Coordinates: 39°44′29″N 75°32′57″W / 39.741318°N 75.549180°W / 39.741318; -75.549180
Area0.43 acres[2]
ArchitectAmmi B. Young
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference No.74000604[1]
Added to NRHP1974-11-21

The Old Customshouse is a historic government building at 516 North King Street in Wilmington, Delaware. It was built in 1855 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

U. S. Customhouse, Wilmington, DE 518 N. King Street, Wilmington, Delaware 1991
U. S. Customhouse, Wilmington, 518 King Street, Wilmington, DE 1901
Old Customs House, King at Sixth Street, Wilmington, New Castle County, DE


Originally, Delaware's custom house existed in New Castle, but it was moved to a small rented building on Water Street in Wilmington around 1800. In 1837, the First Board of Trade came into existence to promote trade through the port of Wilmington. As one of their first actions, the organization sent a petition to Congress asking for a permanent custom house.[3]

Representative George R. Riddle secured appropriations for what was intended to be a dedicated customs house in 1852 which was completed in 1855. Despite the intent for a single-use facility, the Federal Court and the Post Office also shared the building until 1897.[4]

During the Korean and Vietnam war periods, the Old Customshouse served as the Delaware initial reporting and induction site for drafted soldiers.[5] The Wilmington Parking Authority built the Customs House Garage, a 1,335 car facility adjacent to the building.[6]

Wilmington University purchased the building from the federal government in 1983 and used it for both business meetings and downtown classes. In 2008, Wilmington University sold the building to a group of investors who then created Old Customs House LLC.[7] In 2018, the building was then sold to the State of Delaware, who plans to turn the space into offices for the judicial branch and community court facilities. [8]


Ammi B. Young designed the Greek revival building. The two-story structure consist of a cut stone base with stucco exterior walls and four smokestacks. It used to have a portico with a triangular pediment but that was removed in 1929. The hip roof is made of iron using innovative foundry technology for the period.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2011-01-16.
  2. ^ Kozikowski, Michael E. (2008-08-25). "Parcel 2603540084". New Castle County Recorder of Deeds. Retrieved 2011-01-15. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware: 1609-1888: Local history. Vol. II. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co. p. 754. LCCN 01013423.
  4. ^ Scharf, p. 766.
  5. ^ Rogerson, Harry, Wilmington: Picturing Change (Charleston, South Carolina): The History Press, 2008), p. 68. ISBN 1-59629-457-4.
  6. ^ "Customs House Garage". Wilmington Parking Authority. Archived from the original on 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2011-01-15. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Kozikowski, Michael E. (2008-08-25). "2603540084 Advanced Search". New Castle County Recorder of Deeds. Retrieved 2011-01-15. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "2021 Delaware Judiciary capital budget presentation" (PDF). 2021-05-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Dayton, Richard L. (1974-09-24). "Old Customs House NRHP Registry Nomination Form". The Victorian Society in America. Retrieved 2011-01-16. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]