New Castle, Delaware and First State National Historic Park

Established in 1651 by Dutch settlers, the town of New Castle sits on the banks of the Delaware River. The historic district has been designated a National Landmark. We chose to visit because it is part of the First State National Historical Park, which has several sites between the northern border and Dover. We arrived on a weekday and basically had the historic district to ourselves. Fall was in the air, and it turned out to be a perfect day to stroll the cobblestone streets and learn about the history of the state.

The historic New Castle Courthouse was built in 1732 and served as the first court and state capitol of Delaware. It was here in 1776 that documents were signed declaring three counties independent from England and Pennsylvania, making Delaware the first state. The capital was moved to Dover in 1777. This building is a National Historic Landmark as well as a National Historic Underground Railroad Site.
Part of The Green
Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green, established in 1689 and built in 1703
Cemetery of Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. 
One of the buildings along the main thoroughfare, Delaware Street. An upper apartment is now an Airbnb
Old library, now a museum. What an interesting building!
This building once served as the sheriff’s house, and until 1911 a prison stood next to the structure. In the photo below, the words “county prison” can still be seen where they are embedded in the sidewalk.
William Penn. In 1680, New Castle was transferred to him by the Duke of York. Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, who had established the colony of Maryland, disputed the transfer and the property lines. The dispute went on for decades but was settled when the survey was done by Mason and Dixon and the Mason-Dixon Line was established between Delaware and Maryland. Also, Delaware is the only state that has an arc for a border line. The arc was determined by a 12 mile radius using the cupola on top of the New Castle Courthouse as the center point.
View from the waterfront: Delaware Memorial Bridge crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey
Another slice of New Castle history along the edge of the Delaware River.
This container ship happened by while we were at the river.

We’re going to wrap up here, but in closing we will leave you with a photo of the Delaware Legislative Hall which is the state capitol building.

Thank you for joining us on the road. We hope that you will keep coming back for more great road trips and perhaps a tip or two. Until then…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye


As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.