First State National Historical Park!

First State National Historical Park
What is it? First State National Historical Park consists of multiple sites important to the founding of Delaware, the nation’s first state!
What makes it historical? Lots of different parties laid claim to Delaware during its colonial days. It was first settled by Swedish colonists in 1638, then the Dutch in 1651. The English took over by force in 1665, renaming the Dutch settlement of New Amstel, “New Castle,” and the colony of New Netherland, “New York” after the eponymous Duke who took ownership!

Just north, Admiral William Penn, who owned a vast swath of land called Penn’s Woods, or Pennsylvania, wanted access to the Atlantic and received the “lower three counties of Pennsylvania” from the Duke. Admiral Penn set aside those counties as Delaware” and gave them their own General Assembly, which met, starting in 1733, at the New Castle Courthouse, which forms the heart of this National Monument!

This was where, after returning from the second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Delaware delegates first resolved to separate from British rule on June 15, 1776, and from Pennsylvania the following day! That made Delaware the first of the new United States, also the first, 11 years later, to ratify the new Constitution!

Today, there are seven units of this national monument spread across the First State. Visit Fort Christina and the Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, set up by the first Swedish settlers! Take a stroll in Beaver Valley, a vestige of Penn’s woods by Delaware’s circular northern border! See the New Castle Courthouse, where Delaware declared independence and the Green in Dover, where it ratified the Constitution! Explore the homes of Dutch settler, Ryves Holt, and Revolutionary writer, John Dickinson! No matter where you land in the First State, you’re bound to find something fascinating!

How can I Help the Helpers? HERE’S HOW:

Where is this place? Fort Christina

  • 1110 East 7th Street
    Wilmington, DE 19801

Old Swedes Church

  • 606 N. Church Street
    Wilmington, DE 19801

Beaver Valley Visitor Center

  • 41 Adams Dam Road
    Wilmington, DE 19732

New Castle Courthouse (Distances)

  • 1211 Delaware Street
    New Castle, DE 19720

The Green

  • 25 The Green
    Dover, DE 19901

John Dickinson Plantation

  • 340 Kits Hummock Road
    Dover, DE 19901

Ryves Holt House

  • 218 Second Street
    Lewes, DE 19958

From Dover: ~45mi (73km) — 0.8hrs
From Seaford: ~81mi (131km) — 1.4hrs
From Rehoboth Beach: ~87mi (141km) — 1.5hrs
From Wilmington: ~7mi (12km) — 0.2hrs

When should I go? Hours vary, so check the First State National Historical Park site to learn about each specific unit!

Click here to read about my experience in this park!

First State National Historical Park

First State National Historical Park

First State National Historical Park

First State National Historical Park

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