Delaware City, Delaware

Delaware City, Delaware

The city of Delaware emerges from a rich history due to its role as a commerce hub and its relevance in the American Civil War through Fort Delaware. This article explores different aspects of the city from its geography, history, economy, culture, and tourism.

Geography Of Delaware City

Delaware City is located in New Castle County in the US State of Delaware. It is situated on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal's east side, making it a port town. The location makes the city a point of access to the Delaware River, which lies to its east, and the Chesapeake Bay, which lies to its west. The main route leading to Delaware City is called Delaware Route 9. This route cuts across the southeastern and northwestern areas of the city through the fifth street and intersects with the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal at the Reedy Point Bridge. At the north of the town, the route reaches US Route 13 through its convergence with Delaware Route 72. Delaware City covers a total of 5.06 sq. km, of which 0.24 sq. km is covered by water, and 4.82 sq. km is occupied by land. The city is about 16 miles away from the city of Wilmington and 39.8 miles away from the capital city of Dover. Delaware City is approximately 92 miles from Maryland, which borders the state from the south and west; 225.4 miles from Pennsylvania, which connects the state of Delaware from the north; and 100 miles away from New Jersey, at the eastern border of the State of Delaware. The dragon creek, a tributary to the Delaware River, is located near the city. Moreover, the city is home to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, which intersects the Delaware River with the Chesapeake Bay. The town contains several parks, with Fort Delaware State Park being the most popular.

The climate in Delaware City features warm and wet summers and cold and snowy winters. The summer period extends 3.6 months with an average temperature above 77°F. July is the year's hottest month, where the temperature reaches a maximum of 86°F and a minimum of 69°F. The cold period is 3.1 months long, with January being the coldest month. During January, the temperature reaches a minimum of 27°F and a maximum of 41°F. The dry season is 7.1 months, and the shorter wet season lasts 4.9 months. The most common form of precipitation is rain, especially during September, the rainiest of the year with an average rainfall of 3.6 inches, and February, the month with the most snow in the year, with an average snowfall of 5.7 inches. Additionally, the city gets 202 sunny days per year.

Brief History Of Delaware City

Old School and Town Hall in Delaware City Historic District
Old School and Town Hall in Delaware City Historic District. Image Credit: Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons

The history of the city of Delaware can be traced back to 1801. It was first known as Newbold's Landing due to the ownership of the land to the Newbold family. In 1826, the Newbold family aimed to transform the town into a major port and commercial center of the Delaware River. Due to its location, the city has succeeded in becoming a commercial hub. From 1840 till 1880, peaches became the city's booming industry, bringing prosperity and popularity. Additionally, fish captured by anglers in the town was another powerful commodity. The city's economy was primarily based on these industries alongside smaller ones such as hunting, muskrat trapping, and blacksmithing. During the 1870s, the railroad station and Pennsylvania road were launched, thus bringing economic growth to the city. Over the years, the town's economy fluctuated through periods of growth and decline; however, it continued to evolve. During the 18th century, many developments occurred, such as opening new routes to enhance commerce. This led to the shipment of more products such as coal and lumber. Later, the Canal, the cornerstone of the city's prosperity, began losing importance. In 1927, the government converted the Canal into a sea-level waterway. Fort Delaware, located on Pea Patch Island, is now a tourist destination. However, a prisoner-of-war camp housed confederate soldiers who were caught during the civil war. In 1819, the fort was built on the island since it had a significant strategic defense location for Wilmington and Philadelphia. It was later destroyed by a fire and made again by the government in 1859 when it became a massive coastal defense fortification. Then, it became a prisoner-of-war camp when confederate prisoners arrived after the battle of Kernstown in 1862. After the civil war, the fort was abandoned to be modernized in 1896 and used during World War I and II. Finally, the fort was closed in 1944, joined with the state of Delaware, and transformed into a state park in 1951.

The Population And Economy Of Delaware City

As per the latest US Census, Delaware City has a population of 1852 inhabitants. This number has increased by 4.22% since the 2010 census. Out of 1282 adults, 50.14% are females with a median age of 41.1 years, and 49.86% are males with a median age of 38. The total median age in the city is 39.6 years. Regarding the racial composition of Delaware City, 79.90% of the population are white, 14% are black or African American, 0.79% are Native American, and the rest belong to other races. Delaware City's population scores 33.4% on the age dependency ratio and 50.9% on the child dependency ratio.   

The state of Delaware's major employer is the government sector, specifically in New Castle County, to which Delaware City belongs. The average household income scores $63,046, and the median income for households is $63,046. Out of the total population of Delaware City, 59.3% participate in the labor force with a 52.9% employment rate and 10.8% unemployment rate. In 2017, 13.9% of the population in Delaware City worked in the administrative, support, and waste management services sector, the highest percentage among all industries. 

Attractions In Delaware City

Fort Delaware State Park in Delaware City, Delaware
Fort Delaware State Park in Delaware City, Delaware. Editorial credit: Kelleher Photography /

The city is rich in a diverse set of attractions. Tourists can stroll down the shops in the town or visit Pea Patch Island to explore the Fort Delaware State Park. Additionally, adventurers can go on hikes and bike across the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Trail. The city is known for its dishes of local crab and hot hush puppies prepared at Crabby Dick's and its hand-dipped ice cream at the ice cream parlor.

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