Visit Delaware City, a community blessed with a rich history and heritage.
Welcome to a community blessed with a rich history and architectural heritage still evident in the homes and buildings along the wide tree-lined streets of Delaware City. Structures date back to the town’s earliest days in the 1820’s and help tell the story of its economic development. The Delaware City Historic District is one of the largest in the State of Delaware with more than 250 contributing structures.
Delaware City traces its origins to 1801 when the Newbold family from New Jersey purchased a tract of land that became known as Newbold’s Landing. The Newbolds drew plans for the town in 1826, with the expectation that it would eventually grow to rival Philadelphia as a Delaware River port and commercial center. Its location at the eastern terminus of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in 1829 caused Delaware City to become both an operating base and a way station for a number of significant shipping-related activities.
A peach boom during the period 1840-1880 that made Delaware City famous for popularizing peaches nationwide was started by Major Philip Reybold and his sons, who had over 110,000 peach trees by 1845. Peaches shipped from the Major’s Wharf in Delaware City reached many ports from New York to Baltimore.
Fish caught by Delaware City fishermen were processed and shipped from the town. Herring, shad and sturgeon were the main catch, with the sturgeon roe shipped to Germany and Russia to be packaged and marketed as caviar. Hunting and muskrat trapping in the nearby marshes also provided a livelihood for the residents.
Other small industries included the blacksmith shop, a carriage shop, a grist mill, a sheet metal factory, a chicken incubator factory and a mincemeat factory. Some of these were located in the area of the railroad station of the Delaware and Pennsylvania Railroad, which opened a line into Delaware City in the early 1870’s. Twentieth-century industry arrived in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the construction of the nearby industrial complex.
A walk through Delaware City’s streets allows you to view some of the best examples of the important architectural styles beginning with the Federal style of the 1820’s and Delaware’s Italianate “Peach House” buildings of the 1850’s. The styles continue through the catalog mail order homes of the 1920’s. Each of these styles represents an important period in the town’s prosperity.
Delaware City has evolved through many periods of growth and decline and continues to be a thriving, living community for the people who work and reside within it’s bounds. At Battery Park, located along the Delaware River at the foot of Clinton Street, a visitor is surrounded by a scenic panorama of the Delaware River, Pea Patch Island and New Jersey shoreline.