Bicyclists, Birders, Boaters and Batteries
Fort DuPont and Delaware City, less than 30 minutes south of Wilmington and the Delaware Memorial Bridge, is a riverside town with a concentration of stores and houses dating from the 1800’s when it was the busy eastern end of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Today it is a popular destination for birders, boaters, dining, recreation and history enthusiasts.
The original C&D Canal forms the southern edge of town. Just a few feet across the Branch Canal, Fort DuPont is the location of a planned community. A small-town style mixture of new and renovated vintage buildings is centered on a 17-acre parade ground. Parkland, including a large boat ramp, surrounds the former Army base and provides easy access to the Delaware River and canal, which is well known for fishing and boating.
DIRECTIONS TO FORT DUPONT
From Wilmington take I-95 south to DE Route 1 south toward Dover. Take exit 152 for Delaware City and Route 72. Turn left on Route 72 and follow into Delaware City. Go through the traffic light at Clinton Street and continue over the Branch Canal Bridge. Take your first left, which will put you onto Old Elm Ave and into Fort DuPont. Follow Old Elm Ave along the parade ground (on your right) to the first building on the right, 260 Old Elm Ave.
From Dover take DE Route 1 north to exit 152 for Delaware City and Route 72. Turn left on Route 72 and follow into Delaware City. Go through the traffic light at Clinton Street and continue over the Branch Canal Bridge. Take your first left, which will put you onto Old Elm Ave and into Fort DuPont. Follow Old Elm Ave along the parade ground (on your right) to the first building on the right, 260 Old Elm Ave.
Bicyclists can start at Battery Park, cross Fifth Street and travel along the C&D Canal’s Mike Castle Trail to Chesapeake City, Maryland, and back. Or park along the trail and pedal east to town. The Castle Trail is open for walking, biking, and horseback riding.
The Rural two-lane Route 9, or Fifth Street, which runs south through the marshes to Odessa, Leipsic, and Dover, is also a popular bicycling route.
AUGUSTINE WILDLIFE AREA & THOUSAND-ACRE MARSH
Just across the modern canal from the fort, Delaware’s coastal marshes begin at the Augustine Wildlife Area and the Thousand-Acre Marsh. The marsh is an ecologically important wetland popular with birders. Herons roost on the northern end of Pea Patch Island. Osprey and Bald Eagles fish the waters. The American Birding Association has also made Delaware City its North American home, complete with visitors center and museum.
It’s a short walk from Battery Park, past the marina, to the small bridge over the Branch Canal. Transient boaters find the Delaware City Marina a convenient stop and the state maintains a modern launching ramp on the canal’s south bank.
THE MARINA & BOAT RAMP
OLD ELM AVENUE
Once across the Fifth Street Bridge, you are at Old Elm Avenue and the entrance to Fort DuPont. Gun batteries built on a riverside farm before the fort had a name were intended to protect Philadelphia from naval attack. The property has a rich history in the country’s coastal defense dating to just after the War of 1812. In the late 1800’s plans were set in place to expand and in 1899 the military base was officially named after Civil War Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont. Together with guns at Fort Delaware and more guns on the New Jersey side, the fort could protect Wilmington’s industries, Philadelphia and Camden, although the only thing those guns ever hit — by accident — was Salem, New Jersey farmland.
During WWI and WWII, army engineers were based at the fort, with barracks and officers’ housing, a library, theater, gym, swimming pool, and hospital. Some 80 years after Fort Delaware was home to rebel prisoners, Fort DuPont became home to nearly 1,000 German POWs.
a historic waterfront community in Delaware!
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.
WANT TO HOST AN EVENT?
Searching for that special place for your next event? Fort DuPont has a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that can accommodate meetings, parties, sporting events, weddings, even a circus! Conveniently located to all major transportation routes, with ample parking, you’ll find Fort DuPont has much to offer to make your next event a memorable one.
The Parade Ground – 18 acres of open space that currently hosts sporting events, dog shows, military re-enactments,
The Chapel – Build in 1943 to meet the spiritual needs of the service men and their families stationed at Fort DuPont, this unpretentious historic space can accommodate up to 250 people for weddings, meeting events.
CONTACT 302.838.7374 OR EMAIL MARKETING@FORTDUPONT.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION AND AVAILABILITY.