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Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware
Downtown Wilmington and the Christina River
Name origin: named after Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington
Motto: A Place to Be A Body
Nickname: Corporate Capital of the World
Chemical Capital of the World
Country United States
State Delaware
County New Castle
Elevation 92 ft (28 m)
Area 17.0 sq mi (44 km2)
 - land 10.9 sq mi (28 km2)
 - water 6.2 sq mi (16 km2), 36.47%
Population 71,292 (US: 464th) (2012)
Founded March 1638
 - Incorporated 1731
 - Borough Charter 1739
 - City Charter March 7, 1832
Government Council-mayor
Mayor Dennis P. Williams (D)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 19801-19810, 19850, 19880, 19884-19887, 19889-19899
Area code 302
Airport Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport (ILG)
Location in New Castle County and the state of Delaware.
Location of Delaware in the United States

Wilmington (George II of Great Britain.

According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 70,851, a decrease of 2.4% from 2000.[2]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Surrounding municipalities 2.1
    • Climate 2.2
  • Demographics 3
  • Government 4
  • Neighborhoods 5
    • North of the Brandywine River 5.1
    • East of I-95 5.2
    • West of I-95 5.3
    • Historic districts 5.4
  • Public safety 6
    • Crime 6.1
      • Shooting of Jeremy McDole 6.1.1
    • Police 6.2
    • Fire department and EMS 6.3
  • Public health 7
  • Economy 8
    • Top employers 8.1
  • Arts and culture 9
    • Ethnic festivals 9.1
    • Music festivals 9.2
    • Holiday events 9.3
  • Wilmington Riverfront 10
  • Media 11
    • Radio and television 11.1
    • Newspaper 11.2
    • Portrayal of Wilmington in popular culture 11.3
  • Transportation 12
    • Port of Wilmington 12.1
  • Sports and recreation 13
    • Outdoor recreation 13.1
    • Running events 13.2
  • Education 14
    • Universities and colleges 14.1
  • Points of interest 15
    • Near the city 15.1
  • Sister cities 16
  • See also 17
  • References 18
  • Further reading 19
  • External links 20


Wilmington is built on the site of Fort Christina, the first Swedish settlement in North America.

The area now known as Wilmington was settled by the Lenape (or Delaware Indian) band led by Sachem (Chief) Mattahorn just before Henry Hudson sailed up the Len-api Hanna ("People Like Me River," present Delaware River) in 1609. The area was called "Maax-waas Unk" or "Bear Place" after the Maax-waas Hanna (Bear River) that flowed by (present Christina River). It was called the Bear River because it flowed west to the "Bear People," who are now known as the People of Conestoga or the Susquehannocks.

The Dutch heard and spelled the river and the place as "Minguannan." When settlers and traders from the New Sweden Company under Peter Minuit arrived in March 1638 on the Fogel Grip and Kalmar Nyckel, they purchased Maax-waas Unk from Chief Mattahorn and built Fort Christina at the mouth of the Maax-waas Hanna (which the Swedes renamed the Christina River after the Princess of Sweden). The area was also known as "The Rocks", and is located near the foot of present-day Seventh Street. Fort Christina served as the headquarters for the colony of New Sweden which consisted of, for the most part, the lower Delaware River region (parts of present-day Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey), but few colonists settled there.[3][4] Dr. Timothy Stidham (Swedish:Timen Lulofsson Stiddem) was a prominent citizen and doctor in Wilmington. He was born in 1610, probably in Hammel, Denmark and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. He arrived in New Sweden in 1654 and is recorded as the first physician in Delaware.[5][6]

The most important Swedish governor was Colonel Johan Printz, who ruled the colony under Swedish law from 1643 to 1653. He was succeeded by Johan Rising, who upon his arrival in 1654, seized the Dutch post Fort Casimir, located at the site of the present town of New Castle, which was built by the Dutch in 1651. Rising governed New Sweden until the autumn of 1655, when a Dutch fleet under the command of Peter Stuyvesant subjugated the Swedish forts and established the authority of the Colony of New Netherland throughout the area formerly controlled by the Swedes. This marked the end of Swedish rule in North America.

Beginning in 1664

  • Wilmington, Delaware
  • Downtown Wilmington
  • Wilmington Riverfront
  • Wilmington Visitors Bureau
  • Historic Wilmington Archive
  • Swedish Colonial Society
  • Wilmington Riverfront Hazy Summer morning – Photograph published in the News Journal
  • Wilmington Riverfront Cranes at Night
  • Condos at the Riverfront
  • Photo St. Anthony's Festival

External links

  • Carol Hoffecker: Corporate Capital: Wilmington in the Twentieth Century, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983
Published in the 20th century
  • Charles P. Dare (1877), "Wilmington", Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad guide book,  
Published in the 18th and 19th centuries

Further reading

  1. ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Delaware's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting". Census 2010 News. 2US Census Bureau. March 2, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Munroe, John A. (1978), Colonial Delaware: A History, A History of the American colonies, Millwood, New York: KTO Press, p. 16,  
  4. ^  
  5. ^   Original publisher was L. J. Richards: Philadelphia.
  6. ^ Stidham, Jack (2001), "The descendants of Dr. Timothy Stidham", Swedish Colonial News (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  
  7. ^ Munroe, John A. (2006), "The Lower Counties on the Delaware", History of Delaware (5th ed.), Newark, Delaware:  
  8. ^ Justison, Willing's father-in-law, purchased the land from the family of Samuel Peterson.
  9. ^  
  10. ^ "First Powder Mill: 1802". DuPont home, English-US version. Wilmington, Delaware:   Archive attempt via failed May 14, 2011.
  11. ^ "The DuPont Company". Delaware History Online Encyclopedia. Wilmington, Delaware:  
  12. ^ Boyer, William W. (2000), "Chapter Three: The Governor as Leader", Governing Delaware: Policy Problems In The First State (eBook), Newark, Delaware:  
  13. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data".  
  14. ^ "Station Name: DE WILMINGTON NEW CASTLE CO AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Wilmington (city), Delaware". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Delaware – Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ "2010 SF1 Data for Wilmington, Delaware".  
  20. ^ "2010 SF1 Data for Wilmington, Delaware".  
  21. ^ Council President Theopalis K. Gregory :: Government :: City of Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved on July 15, 2013.
  22. ^ "Howard R. Young Correctional Institution".  
  23. ^ Chalmers, Mike (May 14, 2011). "Unions' pact with Wilmington saves 235 jobs".  
  24. ^ "Wilmington Neighborhoods". City of Wilmington, Delaware. February 14, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Brandywine Hills". Neighborhood Link. September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Greater Brandywine Village". Greater Brandywine Village. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  27. ^ "The Triangle Neighborhood Association". Wilmington, Delaware. 2009. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Midtown Brandywine Neighbors Association". Neighborhood Link. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Quaker Hill Historic Preservation Foundation". Quaker Hill Historic Preservation Foundation. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Wilmington Monthly Meeting of Friends". Wilmington Friends Meeting. Archived from the original on April 18, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Riverfront Wilmington". Riverfront Development Corporation. June 26, 2010. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Trinity Website". Trinity Vicinity Neighborhood Association. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  33. ^ "11th Street Bridge Civic Association". Neighborhood Link. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Hedgeville Community Association". Neighborhood Link. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Co-ed and Single Sex". Ursuline Academy. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Padua Academy: About Us". Padua Academy. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  37. ^ "". Neighborhood Link. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  38. ^ Staub, Andrew (August 17, 2013). "After demolition, a neighborhood reborn". The News Journal (Wilmington, DE). 
  39. ^ "Forty Acres Civic Association". Neighborhood Link. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Hilltop Neighborhood Working Group". Community Services: Neighborhoods. City of Wilmington. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Welcome to Little Italy". Little Italy Neighborhood Association. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  42. ^ "Trolley Square Delaware Shopping, Activities, Events". Trolley Square Merchant Association. Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  43. ^ "Wawaset Park Maintenance Corp.". Neighborhood Link. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Union Park Gardens". Neighborhood Link. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  45. ^ "City Historic Districts". Community Services. City of Wilmington. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  46. ^ "(title not known)".  Page not found in
  47. ^ Parra, Estaban (April 30, 2011), "Taking Change Beyond Talk",   Only the first of two web pages is archived.
  48. ^ "Top Ten Most Dangerous Cities in America". Parenting. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  49. ^ Brown, Robin (December 10, 2013). "Wilmington's 22nd shooting death adds to gun fears". The News Journal (Wilmington, DE). Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  50. ^ "Wilmington, DE Auto Theft Statistics". 
  51. ^ "10 Most Dangerous Small Cities in America – Movoto". Movoto Blog. 
  52. ^ "Murder Town USA (aka Wilmington, Delaware)". Newsweek. December 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  53. ^ 
  54. ^ "Department of Police". City of Wilmington. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Future Crimes Database Set Up By Delaware Police". News Alerts. Stephen Quayle. Archived from the original on December 15, 2006. Retrieved October 30, 2009.  The referenced page purports to be an online reprint of an article from The News Journal by Adam Taylor dated August 25, 2002. This remains to be verified.
  56. ^ Taylor, Adam (November 19, 2002). "Wilmington, Delaware gets more surveillance cameras".   Attempt to archive using encountered a no-cache tag; not found in
  57. ^ "2006–2008 Statewide Coordinated Statement of Need & Comprehensive Treatment Plan" (PDF). State of Delaware. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  58. ^  
  59. ^ "Delaware: Legislature Finally OKs Needle Exchange Program". CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. New York City: The HealthCentral Network. June 30, 2006. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2009. Adapted from:News Journal 06.30.2006; Cris Barrish 
  60. ^ Taylor, Adam (April 3, 2010), "Delaware transportation: For now, it's a headache on all sides of the tracks",   (subscription required)
  61. ^ "(Unknown)". June 2, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  62. ^ "Fortune 500 2012: Delaware". CNN. May 21, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  63. ^ "Lawsuit Climate: 2010". Washington, D.C.:  
  64. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions for the Board of Bar Examiners". Delaware Judiciary. Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  65. ^ "City of Wilmington CAFR" (PDF). Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  66. ^
  67. ^ "Financial Reports :: Government :: City of Wilmington, Delaware". 
  68. ^ Shearer, Barbara Smith (2002). State names, seals, flags, and symbols. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 258.  
  69. ^ "Indiafest 2009". IAAD- Indo American Association of Delaware. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  70. ^ staff (Dec 3, 2011), "O christmas tree",  
  71. ^ "History of the Delaware Theatre Company". Delaware Theatre Company. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  72. ^ "Circulation". delawareonline. Gannett. February 14, 2008. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011. Source: ABC Audit Report, 12/26/04 
  73. ^ "Top 100 US Daily Newspaper" (PDF). BurellesLuce. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 25, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2011. Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for six-month period ending 3.31.07 
  74. ^ "Delaware Newspapers". Delaware Library. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  75. ^ Mullinax, Gary (October 31, 2003). "TV version of God hanging out in Wilmington". The News Journal (Wilmington, DE: Gannett Corporation). pp. A1. Retrieved July 8, 2010. (subscription required)
  76. ^ "Cold Opening: Obama vists Biden". Saturday Night Live.  
  77. ^ Bob Hille, Matt Crossman. "Best Sports City 2010". Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  78. ^ "Wilmington State Parks".  
  79. ^ "American Lung Association – Event Information". Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  80. ^ "2014 Caesar Rodney Half Marathon & 5K – Wilmington, DE – American Lung Association – Events". 
  81. ^ "DSA Delaware". Run for the Buds. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  82. ^ "New Castle County, DE Private Schools -". 
  83. ^ "Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington". Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington. 
  84. ^ Jacob Davidson. "You'll Never Guess the City Where Private School Is Most Common – TIME". 
  85. ^ "Brandywine Zoo". Brandywine Zoo. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  86. ^ "Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts". Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  87. ^ "Delaware Theatre Company". Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  88. ^ "Wilmington Drama League". December 13, 2011. 
  89. ^ "Wilmington Public Library". October 5, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  90. ^ "Friends of Wilmington Parks". Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  91. ^ "Sister Cities of Wilmington website". Retrieved October 9, 2010. 


See also

Wilmington has seven sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: [91]

Sister cities

Near the city

Delaware Art Museum

Points of interest

There are several colleges operating in the city of Wilmington:

Universities and colleges

Wilmington also hosts two charter schools, including the Charter School of Wilmington, and East Side Charter School, and a magnet school, Cab Calloway School of the Arts which focuses on the performing arts. The Charter School of Wilmington and Cab Calloway School of the Arts are housed in the building of the former Wilmington High School.

There are many private elementary and secondary schools in Wilmington:[82] Salesianum School, Serviam Girls Academy, Nativity Preparatory of Wilmington,[83] Ursuline Academy, Wilmington Friends School, The Tatnall School, Tower Hill School, St. Elizabeth High School, and Padua Academy. With 17.6% of its students enrolled in private schools, Wilmington ranks as one of the top ten cities in the country.[84]

In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court forced the then segregated schools of New Castle County to desegregate. However, the subsequent eleven school districts that were created in the county, including the Wilmington School District, soon became de facto segregated, as the Wilmington School District became predominately black, and the districts outside the city remained overwhelmingly white. In response, the 1976 U.S. District Court decision Evans v. Buchanan implemented a plan by which students in Wilmington would be bused to attend school in the suburbs for certain grades, while suburban students would be bused into the City of Wilmington for other grades. By 1981, the four current districts in northern New Castle County, Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, and Red Clay, each composed of city and suburban areas, were established. However, Colonial School District no longer serves any portion of the city of Wilmington.

Wilmington is served by the Brandywine, Christina, and Red Clay school districts for elementary, junior high, and high school public education. The New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District operates Howard High School of Technology in the city of Wilmington.

Wilmington Public Library on Rodney Square.


The Run for the Buds 1/2 Marathon, 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 5K Run/Walk is held annually at Rockford Park in mid-October. Proceeds benefit people with intellectual disabilities through the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware.[81]

The Caesar Rodney Half Marathon is a 21.0975-kilometre (13.1094 mi) road race held annually since 1964 on the second Sunday in March.[79] Billed by race organizers as the "granddaddy of Delaware road races," it generally draws more than 1,000 runners from 20 states and several countries. From the starting line at Wilmington's Rodney Square, runners flow past the scenic revitalized riverfront, through Rockford Park and back to Rodney Square at the Caesar Rodney statue. Proceeds benefit the American Lung Association of Delaware.[80]

The Delaware Distance Classic is a 15K road race held in October by the Pike Creek Valley Running Club (PCVRC). The course has rotated every few years based on sponsorship and is currently located in nearby Delaware City. The event began in 1983 as a fundraiser for the PCVRC, and the Mike Clark Legacy Foundation has been the beneficiary for the last few years.

Running events

The City of Wilmington also operates 55 parks and recreational facilities across the city.

The Wilmington State Parks are a group of four parks in Wilmington operated by the Delaware State Park system. The four parks are Brandywine Park, including the Brandywine Zoo and Baynard Stadium, Alapocas Woods Natural Area, H. Fletcher Brown Park and Rockford Park. Admission to the parks is free, but a fee is charged for admittance to the zoo. The parks, within minutes of each other, are open year round from sunrise to sunset. The zoo is open daily from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, May through November. Rockford Tower and Rockford Park is open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, from May 1 until October 31. The parks are patrolled by Delaware State Park Rangers whose headquarters office is in Brandywine Park.[78]

Outdoor recreation

In 2010, Sporting News ranked Wilmington 351st on its list of the 400 Best Sports Towns, behind two smaller Delaware cities, Newark (218) and Dover (208).[77]

The stadium is also the home of the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.

The Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Minor League Baseball team in the Northern Division of the Carolina League, plays at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium.

Sports and recreation

Wilmington is also served by the Port of Wilmington, a modern full-service deepwater port and marine terminal handling over 400 vessels per year with an annual import/export cargo tonnage of 5 million tons. The Port of Wilmington handles mostly international imports of fruits and vegetables, automobiles, steel, and bulk products.

Port of Wilmington

The closest major airport is Philadelphia International Airport. A few miles south of Wilmington is Wilmington Airport, which serves as a base for both the Delaware Army National Guard and Delaware Air National Guard.

Interstate 95, which splits Wilmington roughly into eastern and western halves, provides access to major markets in the Northeast and nationwide. Interstate 495 is a bypass just east of the city, and Interstate 295 is south of the city, crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

DART First State (Delaware Authority for Regional Transit) operates public bus service with approximately 40 bus lines serving the city and the surrounding suburbs as well as inter-county service to Dover, the state capital, and seasonal service to Rehoboth Beach on the Atlantic Ocean. They also offer RideShare Delaware, a program which links commuters looking for carpools or vanpools. In addition, the site offers transit riders, walkers or bikers a Guaranteed Ride Home in the event of a work emergency. Greyhound operates interstate bus service out of the downtown bus terminal at the rail station.

Two freight railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, also serve Wilmington. Each has a major freight-yard in the area; CSX operates the Wilsmere Yard to the west of the city and Norfolk Southern operates the Edgemoor Yard to the northeast of the city.

Wilmington is served by the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Wilmington Rail Station, with frequent service between Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., via Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. SEPTA Regional Rail provides frequent additional local commuter rail service to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania along the Wilmington/Newark Line. Amtrak has a major maintenance shop and yard in northeast Wilmington that maintains and rebuilds the agency's Northeast Corridor electric locomotive fleet. The Amtrak Training Facility is also located in Wilmington, as well as Amtrak's Consolidated National Operations Center (CNOC).

Wilmington Station


  • Wilmington's skyline and other aerial shots of the city stood in for the fictional town of Arcadia in the television program Joan of Arcadia.[75]
  • The 1999 film Fight Club (adapted from Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same title) is set in Wilmington. City officials rejected the filmmakers' request to film in Delaware, so the movie's exterior shots were filmed in Los Angeles.
  • In the movie The Wrestler, the character portrayed by Mickey Rourke has his final match in Wilmington.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Simpsons Tall Tales", the family wins a trip to Delaware and Lisa exclaims "I want to see Wilmington!"
  • In the James Patterson novel Cat and Mouse, one of the crimes takes place in Wilmington.
  • Episodes of various television crime procedurals, including Criminal Minds ("What Fresh Hell") and Bones ("Hole in the Heart") have been set in the city.
  • In episode 4 of season 1 of the 1970s TV series The Incredible Hulk, called "The Final Round", David Banner comes to Wilmington, gets mugged, and befriends a boxer who is unknowingly running heroin for a mob boss.
  • Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits portraying Vice President Joe Biden often mention his residency in Wilmington. For example, in the cold opening of the May 12, 2012, episode, Biden pouts in his Washington, D.C., bedroom, which features an aerial picture of the downtown Wilmington skyline with "DELAWARE" printed along the bottom.[76]
  • In The Bourne Legacy, protagonist Aaron Cross flees to Wilmington, among other places.

Portrayal of Wilmington in popular culture

  • The News Journal, founded as the Delaware Gazette in 1785. Daily circulation as of 2004 and 2007 exceeded 100,000, placing the newspaper among the top 100 in the United States based on circulation.[72][73]
  • Wilmington Sunday Star (between 1881 – 1954)[74]


The Wilmington area is home to five FM radio stations and four AM radio stations. A sixth FM radio station is located in Southern New Jersey and is included in the Wilmington radio market surveys:

Radio and television


In the 1990s, the city launched a campaign to revitalize the former shipyard area known as the Wilmington Riverfront. Delaware Theatre Company was at the forefront of this movement, opening its current space on Water Street in 1985.[71] The efforts were bolstered early by The Big Kahuna also known as Kahunaville (a restaurant, bar and arcade which has also since closed and been rebuilt in 2010 as the Delaware Children's Museum) and the Wilmington Blue Rocks minor league baseball stadium. The Wilmington Rowing Center boathouse is located along the Christina River on the Riverfront. Development continues as the Wilmington Riverfront tries to establish its cultural, economical, and residential importance. Recent high-rise luxury apartment buildings along the Christina River have been cited as evidence of the Riverfront's continued revival. On June 7, 2006, the groundbreaking of Justison Landing signaled the beginning of Wilmington's largest residential project since Bancroft Park was built after World War II. Outlets shops, restaurants and a Riverfront Market have also opened along the 1.2-mile (1.9 km) Riverwalk.

The Kalmar Nyckel with the Wilmington skyline in the background

Wilmington Riverfront

  • Annual tree-lighting ceremony related to the Christmas holiday at Rockwood Museum and Park[70] The Nutcracker performed by the Wilmington Ballet at the Playhouse at the Hotel DuPont.

Holiday events

The Riverfront Blues Festival, a 3-day music festival held each August in the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, features prominent blues acts as well as artists from the local area.

The Peoples' Festival is an annual tribute to Bob Marley, who once lived in Wilmington. Started in 1994, the event features reggae and world beat musicians playing original music and Bob Marley and the Wailers songs. The festival is held on the Wilmington riverfront each summer.

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is a week-long outdoor music festival held each summer in Wilmington's Rodney Square.

Music festivals

Wilmington also celebrates Hispanic Week, which coincides with National Hispanic Month festivities, September 15 – October 15. The festival culminates with a pageant and desfile (parade) along 4th Street. Concerts featuring Latin music acts, Latin cuisine and a carnival are held on the Riverfront on the last weekend. Activities are also held at St. Paul's Catholic Church. [69], which since 1814 has celebrated African American religious freedom. IndiaFest, another cultural festival, is hosted by the Indo American Association of Delaware.Big August Quarterly Wilmington is also home to the annual [68] Wilmington has an active and diverse ethnic population, which contributes to several ethnic festivals held every spring and summer in Wilmington, the most popular of which is the Italian Festival. This event, run by

Ethnic festivals

Wilmington has many museums, galleries, and gardens to enjoy (see Points of Interest below), as well as many ethnic festivals and other events throughout the year. Notable among its museums is the Delaware Art Museum whose collection focuses on American art and illustration from the 19th to the 21st century, and on the English Pre-Raphaelite movement of the mid-19th century.

Arts and culture

Departing from earlier practices, the 2014 Comprehensive Annual Report that is currently available declined to identify the city's top employers.[66] It is possible this information will be included, consistent with past reports, when a final version of the report is publicized as mandated by City Charter.[67]

# Employer # of Employees
1 State of Delaware 13,000
2 Christiana Care Health System 10,400
3 DuPont 8,100
4 Bank of America 7,100
5 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 4,700
6 AstraZeneca, Inc. 4,500
7 University of Delaware 4,000
8 A.I. Dupont Institute 2,821
9 Christina School District 2,300
10 The Y of Delaware 2,300
11 Citibank Delaware 2,000
12 Red Clay School District 1,750
13 M&T Bank 1,700
14 Walgreens 1,700
15 Siemens 1,630

According to Wilmington's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[65] the top employers in the city are:

Top employers

Delaware has among the strictest rules in America regarding out-of-state legal practice, allowing no reciprocity to lawyers who passed the bar in other states.[64]

Because Delaware is the official state of incorporation for so many American companies, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, located in Wilmington, is one of the busiest of the 94 federal bankruptcy courts located around the U.S.

Delaware chartered corporations rely on the state's Disney shareholder litigation.

Wilmington's other notable industries include insurance (American Life Insurance Company [ALICO], Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Delaware), HSBC, Citizens Bank, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, and Artisans' Bank), and legal services. A General Motors plant was closed in 2009.[61] Wilmington is home to one Fortune 500 company, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.[62] In addition, the city is the corporate domicile of more than 50% of the publicly traded companies in the United States, and over 60% of the Fortune 500.

Wilmington has become a national financial center for the credit card industry, largely due to regulations enacted by former Bank One/First USA), and Barclays Bank of Delaware (formerly Juniper Bank), are headquartered in Wilmington. The Dutch banking giant ING Groep N.V. headquartered its U.S. internet banking unit, ING Direct (now Capital One 360), in Wilmington. The United Kingdom's HSBC has their American operations headquartered in Wilmington. Wilmington Trust is headquartered in Wilmington at Rodney Square. Barclays and Capital One 360 have very large and prominent locations located along the waterfront of the Christina River. In 1988, the Delaware legislature enacted a law which required a would-be acquirer to capture 85 percent of a Delaware chartered corporation's stock in a single transaction or wait three years before proceeding. This law strengthened Delaware's position as a safe haven for corporate charters during an especially turbulent time filled with hostile takeovers.

Much of Wilmington's economy is based on its status as the most populous and readily accessible city in Delaware, a state that made itself attractive to corporations with business-friendly financial laws and a longstanding reputation for a fair and effective judicial system. Contributing to the economic health of the downtown and Wilmington Riverfront regions has been the presence of Wilmington Station, through which 665,000 people passed in 2009.[60]

WSFS Bank's headquarters in downtown Wilmington
Founding of Wilmington stamp. (See New Sweden.)


The city has one of the highest per capita rates of HIV infection in the United States, with disproportionate rates of infection among African-American males.[57][58] Efforts by local advocates to create needle exchange programs to reduce the spread of infection were obstructed for several years by downstate and suburban state legislators but a program was finally approved in June 2006.[59]

Christiana Care, a health network headquartered in Wilmington, runs Wilmington Hospital on the edge of downtown Wilmington and Christiana Hospital in suburban Christiana, as well as various satellite health centers throughout the area. St. Frances Hospital, a member of CHE Trinity Health, is located in the west end of Wilmington. Nemours runs the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in North Wilmington, just outside the city proper.

Public health

On July 1, 2009, the national financial crisis and projected city budget shortfall led the department to lay off firefighters for the first time in city history. Eight of the department's 173 uniformed personnel were laid off, but returned to work within 13 months to replace retiring personnel. The department also launched began a rolling by-pass of three engine companies (Engine 5, Squirt 4, and Engine 6). Later, the city eliminated its only heavy rescue company, Rescue 1; its personnel were deployed to other companies. In order to provide technical rescue services, the department converted two engine companies into squad companies. Engine 1 was re-designated as Squad 1, Engine 3 re-designated as Squad 3. Rescue 1's heavy rescue vehicle remained equipped and held in reserve. Even with the elimination of Rescue 1, the Department continued the rolling by-pass of an engine company. The rolling by-pass now affected Squrt 4, Engine 5, and Engine 6. The Department found some financial relief in 2011 when it was awarded the federal SAFER grant. This enabled the department to fund 13 positions returning the department's staffing to 173 uniformed personnel. Even with the federal grant the department has stated that the need to continue the rolling by-pass should dramatically decrease however it would not eliminate the need.

Emergency medical services are provided through contract with the city's St. Francis Hospital, whose EMS division operates a minimum five BLS transport units at all times of the day. Advanced Life Support services in the City of Wilmington are provided by New Castle County's EMS Division with two city-based medic units. All Wilmington firefighters since 2002 are trained to the EMT-B level and serve as first responders for life-threatening emergencies.

The Wilmington Fire Department (WFD) is led by Chief Anthony S. Goode and maintains four engine companies, two squad companies, two ladder companies, and a marine fire fighting force. The department has a ridealong program to help recruit new firefighters. It requires firefighters to be regularly involved with community associations. Wilmington is the only municipality in Delaware with an all-career fire department.

Fire department and EMS

Also in 2002, Wilmington became perhaps the first U.S. city with surveillance cameras covering the downtown area.[56]

In 2002, the Police Department started a program known as jump-outs in which unmarked police vans would patrol crime-prone neighborhoods late at night, suddenly converge at street corners and temporarily detain loiterers; photographing and fingerprinting the detainees. The program was touted as a good way to arrest people with drugs or weapons, fill out the police's database of fingerprints, and identify eyewitnesses for future crime investigations. Some citizens said the practice violated civil rights.[55]

The Wilmington Police Department (WPD), which aims to "raise the level of public safety through law enforcement and thereby reduce the fear and incidence of crime", is authorized to deploy up to 289 officers in motor vehicles, on foot, and on bicycle. Its operations are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. As of 2014, its chief is Bobby Cummings.[54]

WPD van at Rodney Square


On September 23, 2015, Jeremy McDole, an African-American paraplegic man in a wheelchair was shot and killed by police responding to a 911 call that McDole had suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police and bystander accounts differ over the details of the incident and the event is under investigation.[53]

Shooting of Jeremy McDole

In December 2014, Newsweek called it "Murder Town USA."[52]

In March 2014, Movoto Real Estate rated Wilmington the most dangerous small city in the country.[51]

Between 2003 and 2012, an average of 560 vehicles were stolen in Wilmington each year.[50]

In 2013, Wilmington saw 150 shootings by December 12, breaking a three-year-old record of 142.[49]

In 2012, Parenting magazine called Wilmington the nation's most dangerous city on a per capita basis.[48]

In 2010, Wilmington had 27 homicides, breaking the two-year-old record of 26.[46] In 2011, community mobilization against crime was reported to be on the rise in the city.[47]

Crime rates (2012)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 26
Robbery: 474
Aggravated assault: 694
Total violent crime: 1,228
Burglary: 1,212
Larceny-theft: 2,247
Motor vehicle theft: 365
Arson: 1
Total property crime: 3,824
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2012 population: 72,088
Source: 2012 FBI UCR Data


Public safety

The City of Wilmington designates nine areas as historic districts: the Baynard Boulevard, Kentmere Parkway, Rockford Park, Cool Spring/Tilton Park, the tri-part sections of the Eastside, St. Marys and Old Swedes Church, Quaker Hill, Delaware Avenue, Trinity Vicinity, and Upper/Lower Market Street.[45]

Historic districts

  • Westmoreland – detached housing developed in the 1950s, as part of the suburban movement that followed the end of World War II. Its location is adjacent to the original Wilmington Country Club, bounded by Ogle Avenue, Dupont Road, the Wilmington High School property and the Ed "Porky" Oliver Golf Course.
  • West Hill
  • Wawaset Park – The neighborhood was constructed by the Dupont Company in 1918 to provide a residential community for their employees. Baltimore architect Edward L. Palmer, Jr. was chosen to design the community, which was to have a mix of single family homes and smaller attached Prior to the development of houses. The neighborhood was constructed on a 50-acre (200,000 m2) plot. Prior to its construction, the tract of land had been used as a horse racing track and a fairground. Wawaset Park was placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1986. The neighborhood is bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, West 7th Street, Woodlawn Avenue and Greenhill Avenue.[43]
  • Wawaset Heights
  • Wawaset
  • Trolley Square – settled in the 1860s after the city's trolley line had extended into farmland once owned by the Shallcross and Lovering families. The city's former trolley depot and bus barn was located on the spot where the Trolley Square shopping complex now sits. The neighborhood lies between Harrison Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Lovering Avenue and the B&O Railroad track.[42]
  • St. Elizabeth Area – The St. Elizabeth area is anchored by the St. Elizabeth Parish at 809 S. Broom St., considered the heart of the Catholic community. This historic church, built on the grounds of the Banning Estate, dates back to 1908.
  • Little Italy – this neighborhood consists of the area around Union Street and Lincoln streets, between Pennsylvania Avenue and Lancaster Avenue. Anchored by the immigration waves of the late 19th century and early 20th century, Little Italy has retained its roots, even as neighborhood remodeling projects update the scenery. A central feature of the neighborhood is the St. Anthony's of Padua Roman Catholic Church. The neighborhood hosts an annual Italian Festival in the summertime.[41]
  • Hilltop – This area located along 4th Street and roughly bordered by Lancaster Avenue, Jackson Street, Clayton Street has remained one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city since the late 19th century. Today, this area is home to one of the city's fastest growing segments – the Hispanic community.[40]
  • The Highlands – located between Pennsylvania Avenue and Delaware Avenue, the Highlands neighborhood, centered on 18th Street southeast of Rockford Park, was developed by Joshua Heald in the 19th century for affluent, middle-class residents. It contains detached and semi-detached houses of exuberant architectural detailing, representing numerous popular styles of the time.
  • Hedgeville
  • Happy Valley – a small collection of late 19th-century row houses on the southeastern slope to Brandywine Park, between Adams Street, Jackson Street (I-95), Wawaset Street and Gilpin Avenue.
  • Greenhill
  • Forty Acres – This historically Irish neighborhood, rural until the mid-19th century, developed from the farmland of Joshua T. Heald. One of the city's first suburbs, the neighborhood is centered on the St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church. The name Forty Acres is taken from the fertility of the farmland. One acre of the land was said to be worth 40 acres (160,000 m2) one might find someplace else. The neighborhood exists northeast of Delaware Avenue, southwest of Riddle Avenue, east of Union Street and west of DuPont Street, with Lovering Avenue as its eastern boundary of Lovering Avenue.[39]
  • The Flats – The Flats was founded by businessman William Bancroft who developed the neighborhood in 1901 under the Woodlawn Company, now known as the Woodlawn Trustees, with the intention of creating affordable homes for working class residents of Wilmington. The predominantly minority community is currently in the process of gaining authorization for a $100 million revitalization to be performed in seven phases over 12 years.[38]
  • Delaware Avenue
  • Cool Spring & Tilton Park – bounded loosely by Pennsylvania Avenue on the north, West 7th Street on the south, North Jackson Street on the east and North Rodney Street on the west. The neighborhood is home to two Catholic schools, Ursuline Academy[35] and Padua Academy.[36] The neighborhood is also the location of the private University & Whist Club and the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which hosts an annual Greek cultural festival.[37]
  • Canby Park
  • Browntown – areas in the city that were originally populated by Polish immigrants. Today, the Polish community maintains a strong presence, while other ethnicities have moved in the neighborhood's borders.[34]
  • Bayard Square

West of I-95

  • 11th St. Bridge[33]
  • West Center City
  • Upper East Side (East Brandywine)
  • Trinity Vicinity – This neighborhood is located in the center of Wilmington, next to the Trinity Church and Interstate 95. A collection of row homes and detached houses, many of which were originally built in the late 19th century. The revitalization of the neighborhood was aided by the Urban Homesteading Act in the 1970s. The neighborhood was designated as a historic district in the 1990s.[32]
  • Southbridge
  • Riverfront[31] – Formerly a hub for manufacturing and the city's shipbuilding industry, which began to see a rapid series of state-sponsored urban renewal and gentrification projects beginning in the late 1990s. The neighborhood is currently home to landmarks such as the Wilmington Blue Rocks' Baseball Stadium and the Shipyard Shops.
  • Quaker Hill[29] – From a country hilltop in the 19th century to rows of city homes today, Quaker Hill (which surrounds the historical Quaker Friends Meeting House) has watched its neighborhood become much more modernized over the last three centuries. This city district was founded by Quakers William Shipley and Thomas West in the early 18th century. The nearby Meeting House keeps Quaker Hill closely tied to its rich history. The cemetery of the Wilmington Friends House is the burial site of the abolitionist Thomas Garrett and John Dickinson, signer of the U.S. Constitution.[30]
  • Midtown Brandywine – row homes near Brandywine Park[28]
  • LOMA
  • Justison Landing
  • East Side –
  • Center City (Downtown)

East of I-95

  • Triangle – a group of homes built in the 1920s whose corresponding streets along I-95 and Baynard Boulevard and 18th Street and Concord Avenue loosely form a triangle.[27]
  • Riverside – Is a housing development in the northeastern corner of the city. It was built in 1959.
  • Prices Run
  • Ninth Ward – Originally a post-Civil War political creation, the city's Ninth Ward has long been an area with owner-occupied residences. The Ninth Ward was integrated as a result of population shifts in the 1960s and remains a stable, working-class neighborhood.
  • Harlan
  • Gander Hill (Lower Brandywine Village)
  • Eastlake
  • Eastlawn
  • Brandywine Village[26]
  • Brandywine Hills – This neighborhood of approximately 225 homes in northern Wilmington was started in the 1930s. The streets in the neighborhood are named after famous American and English authors, including Byron, Emerson, Hawthorne and Milton. It is bounded by Lea Boulevard, Rockwood Road, Miller Road, and Market Street[25]
  • Baynard Village

North of the Brandywine River

The city of Wilmington is made up of the following neighborhoods:[24]

Typical sign on major thoroughfares entering Wilmington


Many Wilmington City workers belong to one of several Locals of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.[23]

The Delaware Department of Correction Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, renamed from Multi-Purpose Criminal Justice Facility in 2004 and housing both pretrial and posttrial male prisoners, is located in Wilmington. The prison is often referred to as the "Gander Hill Prison" after the neighborhood it is located in. The prison opened in 1982.[22]

The current mayor of Wilmington is Dennis P. Williams (D). Williams held the First Representative District seat in the state House of Representatives before being elected Mayor in 2012. The City Council President is Theopalis K. Gregory, Sr. (D), a former City Councilman.[21] The City Council members are Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha (1st District), Ernest Congo II (2nd District), Darius J. Brown (3rd District), Hanifa G.N. Shabazz (4th District), Samuel Prado (5th District), Sherry Dorsey Walker (6th District), Robert A. Williams (7th District), Charles M. Freel (8th District), Michael A. Brown, Sr. (At-Large), Maria D. Cabrera (At-Large), Loretta Walsh (At-Large), and Justen A. Wright (At-Large).

The Wilmington City Council consists of thirteen members. The council consists of eight members who are elected from geographic districts, four elected at-large and the City Council President. The Council President is elected by the entire city. The Mayor of Wilmington is also elected by the entire city.


According to ACS 1-year estimates for 2010, the median income for a household in the city was $32,884, and the median income for a family was $37,352. Males working full-time had a median income of $41,878 versus $36,587 for females working full-time. The per capita income for the city was $24,861. 27.6% of the population and 24.9% of families were below the poverty line. 45.7% of those under the age of 18 and 16.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.[20]

In the city, the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.3 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

There were 28,615 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.5% were married couples living together, 24.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.2% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.18.

As of the census of 2010, there were 70,851 people, 28,615 households, and 15,398 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,497.6 per square mile (2,508.8/km²). There were 32,820 housing units at an average density of 3,009.9 per square mile (1,162.1/km²) and with an occupancy rate of 87.2%. The racial makeup of the city was 58.0% African American, 32.6% White, 0.4% Native American, 1.0% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.4% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 12.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Non-Hispanic Whites were 27.9% of the population in 2010,[17] compared to 40.5% in 1990.[18] As of the census of 2000, the largest ancestries included: Irish (8.7%), Italian (5.7%), German (5.2%), English (4.4%), and Polish (3.6%).[19]


Climate data for Wilmington, Delaware (New Castle County Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1894–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 75
Average high °F (°C) 40.2
Daily mean °F (°C) 32.4
Average low °F (°C) 24.6
Record low °F (°C) −14
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.01
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.5 9.4 10.7 11.3 11.2 10.3 9.9 8.1 8.5 8.3 9.2 10.3 117.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.3 3.6 1.3 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 2.0 11.8
Source: NOAA[13][14]

Wilmington is in the northern periphery of a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with cool to cold winters, hot, humid summers, and generous precipitation throughout the year. The January daily average is 32.4 °F (0.2 °C), although temperatures may occasionally reach 10 °F (−12 °C) or 50 °F (10 °C). In July, the daily average is 76.8 °F (24.9 °C), with an average 21 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually. Snowfall is highly variable, with some winters bringing very little of it and others witnessing several major snowstorms; the average seasonal total is 20.2 inches (51 cm). Extremes in temperature have ranged from −15 °F (−26 °C) on February 9, 1934, up to 107 °F (42 °C) on August 7, 1918, though both 100 °F (38 °C)+ and 0 °F (−18 °C) readings are uncommon; the last occurrence of each was July 18, 2012 and February 5, 1996, respectively.


Surrounding municipalities

These contrasting topography and soil conditions affected the industrial and residential development patterns within the city. The hilly west side was more attractive for the original residential areas, offering springs and sites for mills, better air quality, and fewer mosquitoes.

On the western side of Market Street, the Piedmont topography is rocky and hilly, rising to a point that marks the watershed between the Brandywine River and the Christina River. This watershed line runs along Delaware Avenue westward from 10th Street and Market Street.

Wilmington lies along the Fall Line geological transition from the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont Plateau to the Atlantic Coastal Plain. East of Market Street, and along both sides of the Christina River, the Coastal Plain land is flat, low-lying, and in places marshy. The Delaware River here is an estuary at sea level (with twice-daily high and low tides), providing sea-level access for ocean-going ships.

These transportation links and geographic proximity give Wilmington some of the characteristics of a satellite city to Philadelphia, but Wilmington's long history as Delaware's principal city, its urban core, and its independent value as a business destination makes it more properly considered a small but independent city in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

The city sits at the confluence of the Christina River and the Delaware River, about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wilmington Train Station, one of the southernmost stops on Philadelphia's SEPTA rail transportation system, is also served by Northeast Corridor Amtrak passenger trains. Wilmington is served by I-95, although the twin-span Delaware Memorial Bridge, a few miles south of the city, provides direct highway access between Delaware and New Jersey, carrying the I-295 eastern bypass route around Wilmington and Philadelphia, as well as US 40, which continues eastward to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.0 square miles (44 km2). Of that, 10.9 square miles (28 km2) is land and 6.2 square miles (16 km2) is water. The total area is 36.25% water.

Aerial view of Wilmington


In the 1980s, job growth and office construction were spurred by the arrival of national banks and financial institutions in the wake of the 1981 Financial Center Development Act, which liberalized the laws governing banks operating within the state, and similar laws in 1986. Today, many national and international banks, including Chase, and Barclays, have operations in the city, typically credit card operations.

Riots and civil unrest in the city followed the 1968 assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 9, 1968, Governor Charles L. Terry, Jr. deployed the National Guard and the Delaware State Police to the city at the request of Mayor John Babiarz. Babiarz asked Terry to withdraw the National Guard the following week, but the governor kept them in the city until his term ended in January 1969. This is reportedly the longest occupation of an American city by state forces in the nation's history.[12]

The post-war prosperity again pushed residential development further out of the city. In the 1950s, more people began living in the suburbs of North Wilmington and commuting into the city to work. This was made possible by extensive upgrades to area roads and highways and through the construction of Interstate 95, which cut through several of Wilmington's neighborhoods and accelerated the city's population decline. Urban renewal projects in the 1950s and 1960s cleared entire blocks of housing in the Center City and East Side areas.

Both World Wars stimulated the city's industries. Industries vital to the war effort – shipyards, steel foundries, machinery, and chemical producers – operated around the clock. Other industries produced such goods as automobiles, leather products, and clothing.

The late 19th century saw the development of the city's first comprehensive park system. William Poole Bancroft, a successful Wilmington businessman influenced by the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, led the effort to establish open parkland in Wilmington. Rockford Park and Brandywine Park were created due to Bancroft's efforts.

Two news girls in Wilmington, May, 1910.

By 1868, Wilmington was producing more iron ships than the rest of the country combined and it rated first in the production of gunpowder and second in carriages and leather. Due to the prosperity Wilmington enjoyed during the war, city merchants and manufacturers expanded Wilmington's residential boundaries westward in the form of large homes along tree-lined streets. This movement was spurred by the first horsecar line, which was initiated in 1864 along Delaware Avenue.

The greatest growth in the city occurred during the Civil War. Delaware, though officially remaining a member of the Union, was a border state and divided in its support of both the Confederate and the Union causes. The war created enormous demand for goods and materials supplied by Wilmington including ships, railroad cars, gunpowder, shoes, and other war-related goods.

In 1800, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, a French Huguenot emigrated to the United States. Knowledgeable in the manufacture of gunpowder, by 1802 DuPont had begun making the explosive in Brandywine Village just outside of the town of Wilmington.[10] The DuPont company became a major supplier to the U.S. military.[11] Located on the banks of the Brandywine River, the village was eventually annexed by Wilmington city.

Although during the American Revolutionary War only one small battle was fought in Delaware, British troops occupied Wilmington shortly after the nearby Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. The British remained in the town until they vacated Philadelphia in 1778.

. Earl of Wilmington, Spencer Compton to Wilmington, presumably after [9][8][7]

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