Visitors to Old New Castle sometimes feel they’ve been transported back in time. The cobblestone streets and tidy Colonial-era townhomes of this riverside village still speak of the nation’s early history, when passionate and courageous patriots pushed to break the bonds with Britain and create a nation of their own.
Central to this story of revolutionary ideals is the Old Court House in the center of town, which served as the first capital of the state and its State House (1776-1777). Here, in one momentous month in 1776, two historic moves were made -- the state of Delaware was created when it separated from Pennsylvania, and the legislature declared its independence from Great Britain, weeks before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Originally founded as Fort Casimir in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant, the town has seen the flags of the Netherlands, Sweden and Great Britain flown over its shady streets. Visitors can browse its unique assortment of shops and restaurants, see where William Penn landed in the New World in 1682, or wander down to the riverside for a picnic in Battery Park before visiting the town’s museums and homes:
--The Dutch House, a late 17th-century home furnished in the style of New Castle’s early Dutch settlers.
-- The Amstel House, a colonial brick mansion built in the early American Georgian style of architecture and furnished to reflect 18th and 19th century life in New Castle.
--The Old Library, built in the shape of a hexagon and in the Victorian style, includes an exhibit on New Castle’s history.
--The George Read II House and Garden, known as “the grandest mansion and oldest garden in New Castle,” is a showcase of the decorative arts of the Federal period.
New Castle’s location made it an ideal transfer point for trips up and down the coast. As a result, New Castle was a thriving coastal community throughout the 1700′s and early 1800′s.
This small, picturesque City allows vacationers, as well as business travelers, a refreshing respite from the pressures of daily life. Whether you are enjoying the beaches, the Brandywine Valley, or other treasures of Delaware, be sure to include New Castle in your itinerary.