New Castle is a city in
County, Delaware, six miles
(10 km) south of Wilmington, situated on the Delaware
River, at the head of Delaware Bay.
In 1900, 3,380 people lived here; in 1910,
3,351. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of
the city is 4,836.
New Castle, Delaware, was originally settled by the Dutch West India Company
under Peter Stuyvesant
on the site
of a former Indian village, "Tomakonck" ("Place of the Beaver").
The original name of New Castle was Fort
. This was changed to Fort Trinity (Swedish:
) following its capture by New Sweden
on Trinity Sunday, 1654. After its
recapture by the Dutch the following year, the name was changed to
. Under Sir Robert Carr
, the British routed
the Dutch in 1664 and changed the name to New Castle. The Dutch
again seized the town in 1673 but it was returned to Great Britain
the next year under the Treaty of Westminster
. In 1680,
it was conveyed to William Penn
Duke of York
and was Penn's
landing place when he first set foot on American soil in 1682.
transfer to Penn was contested by Lord Baltimore and the
boundary dispute was not resolved until the survey conducted by
Mason and Dixon, now famed in history as the Mason-Dixon
The spire on top of the Court House — Delaware's Colonial capitol
and first state house — was used as the center of the 12-mile circle
forming the northern
boundary of Delaware and part of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Delaware River
within this radius to the low
water mark on the opposite shore is part of Delaware. Thus the
Delaware Memorial Bridge
was built as an intrastate span by Delaware, without financial
participation by neighboring New Jersey.
The traditional Mason-Dixon line is actually west of the state,
although all of Delaware's borders were established by this survey
team. The line is the traditional dividing mark between the slave
states of the south and the free states of the north. Delaware was
a slave state, and voted with the south on all north/south issues.
Delaware's northernmost county, New Castle, was more industrial and
closely aligned with the north, while the southern two counties,
Kent and Sussex, remained agricultural and based on slavery. During
the Civil War, Delaware was a border state.
the establishment of Penn's Philadelphia, New Castle was center of government.
being transferred to Penn, Delaware petitioned for a separate
legislature, which was finally granted in 1702. New Castle again
became the seat of the colonial government until the Revolution,
when the besieged town moved governmental functions south to Dover.
New Castle remained a county seat until after the Civil War. Two
signers of the Declaration of
were from New Castle — Thomas McKean
and George Read
New Castle was the eastern terminus of the New Castle and Frenchtown
, the second oldest (1832) rail line in the country.
traversed the Delmarva
Peninsula, running to the Elk River, Maryland, from where
passengers changed to packet boats for
further travel to Baltimore and points south.
New Castle has a 83-year old tradition of home and garden tours.
These tours are usually held on the third Saturday of May.
Cloud's Row, 117-125 Delaware Street
in New Castle.
A sampling of noteworthy historic sites
- Amstel House, 2 E. Fourth St. (~1738) Home of New Castle
Historical Society (admission charged)
- Stonum, the house
of George Read.
- Read House and Gardens at
42 the Strand, former home of George Read II. The house, built
between 1801 and 1804, is owned and operated by the Delaware
Historical Society. It is one of finest examples of
transitional Georgian/Federal architecture in America. (admission
- Booth House, 216 Delaware St. (~1730 but with many renovations
since). Birthplace of Judge James Booth, Jr.
- Gilpin House, 210 Delaware St. (One of town's oldest buildings,
but three renovations over time have obscured original facade). It
was built as the town's hotel/tavern and served as such until
Prohibition in 1920. (In 1820 it was called "Arms of the United
States"). Today it houses a bank and five apartments.
- Immanuel Episcopal Church, on the Green. (1703)
- Old New Castle Court House, opposite Gilpin House on Delaware St. Original
colonial capitol; first state house of Delaware. Served as
Court House until 1882, when county seat was moved to
- Old "Dutch" House, (ca. 1700). Typical of small early dwellings
in town. (admission charged)
- New Castle Academy, On the Green. (1789)
- The Arsenal, On the Green. (1809) Built when it became apparent
there would be war with England, which came three years later. Has
had numerous public uses since, as schoolhouse, hospital and
finally as restaurant.
- Thomas McKean House, 22 The
- Archibald Alexander House, 26-28 The Green, (~1800)
- Van Leuvenigh House, S.E. corner Delaware St. & The Strand.
- Kensey Johns House, 1 Third St., (1789)
- Town Hall & Market Place, Corner 2nd St. & Delaware St.
- Gunning-Bedford House, 6 The Strand, (~1730)
- New Castle-Frenchtown RR Ticket House, Foot of Delaware St.
- Old Presbyterian Church, Opposite Old Town Hall,
- Janvier House, 208 Delaware St., (~1800)
- William Penn Guest House (ca. 1680) the oldest building in
town, legend says when Penn first stepped foot on American soil, he
walked to this house, where his friend and local magistrate lived,
and spent the night.
- Lesley Manor, 123 W 7th St. (1855/1870) Built in 1855 for Dr.
Allen Voorhees Lesley. Designed by Thomas and James Dixon of
Baltimore, MD, who also designed the Wilmington Opera House. Lesley
had a large wing added in 1870 to allow the kitchens to be
relocated from the basement. The now private residence features
gothic bargeboards, large cast bronze gas chandeliers, and a 5
New Castle is located at (39.664712, -75.565392)GR1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total
area of 3.2 square miles (8.2 km²), of which,
3.0 square miles (7.9 km²) of it is land and
0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (3.79%) is water.
This city is the home of Broad Dyke
first dyke built in the United States.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 4,862
people, 2,012 households, and 1,339 families residing in the city.
The population density
1,594.6 people per square mile (615.5/km²). There were 2,199
housing units at an average density of 721.2/sq mi
(278.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.48% White
, 20.20% African American
, 0.84% from other races
, and 0.84% from two
or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 2.41%
of the population.
There were 2,012 households out of which 26.2% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples
living together, 14.9% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families.
27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age
of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to
64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $52,449, and the
median income for a family was $56,368. Males had a median income
of $40,153 versus $31,571 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$24,052. About 3.9% of families and 5.3% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 5.8%
of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.
New Castle is served by the Colonial School District
and the New Castle Public Library] the New
Castle Public Library
- George Read I, signer of
the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution lived in New
Castle on the Strand. He was Governor of Delaware. Another Delaware
Governor that resided in New Castle was Nicholas Van Dyke.
- John Walter Bratton who was
raised in New Castle by his grandmother and in his long Broadway
career wrote over 250 published songs, the most famous being
Teddy Bears' Picnic.
- New Castle is also the birthplace of military hero Thomas Holcomb and rock instrumental
guitarist Vinnie Moore.
- Dave May, MLB player
for the Baltimore Orioles,
Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Jeff Otah, a Carolina Panthers defensive tackle.
- Ryan Phillippe, actor, was born
and grew up in New Castle.
- Caesar Rodney, patriot and signer
of the Declaration of
The city of New Castle is often referred to as "Old New Castle".
Every year on the third Saturday in May, New Castle hosts 'A Day in
Olde New Castle,' an open house in which many of the city's
historic houses, churches, and public buildings are open to the
public. Householders dress in colonial costumes and an admittance
fee is collected which is toward the maintenance of the town's many