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Walk Through American History
Nestled on the Mid-Atlantic Coast between Philadelphia and Washington D.C., this New England destination boasts a proud colonial legacy. Dover’s historic Green has been a gathering place for the community for over three centuries. It was here that Delaware gained its nickname as the First State – so called because it was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Start exploring the heritage of the region at the First State National Historic Park, which includes seven distinct sites across the state. Visit the Old State House and the Legislative Hall to step back into America’s past. Nearby in Old New Castle, cobblestone streets are lined with an exceptional collection of authentic colonial buildings. At Fort Delaware State Park on Pea Patch Island, costumed interpreters tell the story of the Civil War in a Union Fortress.
Delaware recently received its first site managed by the National Park Service. The free First State National Historical Park in New Castle offers the New Castle Court House Museum and the Dover Green Historic District.
History buffs are encouraged to visit Dover for the attractions of Capital Square. Also known as the First State Heritage Park, this area is home to both the Legislative Hall and the Old State House, plus museums, galleries, and a visitor center – all in downtown Dover.
Head to the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center & Galleries for some preliminary information, then check out the Air Mobility Command Museum, the Johnson Victrola Museum, and the Woodburn & Hall House.
Don’t leave Dover without a tour of the Old State House, First completed in 1791, the Old State House is the “first permanent capitol building in Dover.”
Set on the historic Green, this now-museum features free entry and parking, plus special events like Watercolor Wednesdays, Underground Railroad tours, and Independence Day celebrations.
Set in northern Delaware, the city of Wilmington – the largest city in the state – is home to the Delaware Historical Society.
Begun in 1864, the Delaware Historical Society plays host to several historical sites, including Old Town Hall, the Delaware History Museum, and Willingtown Square.
A collection of historic structures, parts of Willingtown Square were constructed as early as 1748. Although the historic homes aren’t open to the public, they may be viewed from Market Street along a walking tour, and are exhibited at the Willingtown Square Gallery.
Other historic attractions include Delaware museums. Located on the Atlantic Coast in Rehoboth Beach, the Anna Hazzard Museum features Rehoboth Beach’s history dating back to the 1870s.
Free to the public, the museum is open Friday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. near Dewey Beach.
Named for Thomas Willing, the Willingtown Square features four structures built between 1748 and 1801. Set in downtown Wilmington, the square was established as a haven for these historic buildings – which were relocated from various locations in Wilmington to Market Street to avoid demolition
Enjoy strolling past these homes listed the National Register of Historic Places and get to know this piece of Delaware's past. The Willingtown Square Gallery features traveling exhibits showcasing Wilmington's history.