A National Park in Delaware

By | Aug 25, 2009

On this 93rd anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson signing the National Park Service Organic Act that created the National Park Service it may be time to wonder why there is not a National Park in the State of Delaware.

Delaware is the only State that does not have a National Park Unit within it. A unit is a physical property owned or administered by the National Park Service. There are 391 units although the term can be confusing since some places may be counted as multiple units and separate places may be considered as one.

Delaware has a number of areas that could be considered. There is The Green and the Golden Fleece Tavern in Dover. It was there that the Delaware Assembly voted on December 7, 1787 as the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.

Cape Henlopen at Lewes Delaware was declared by William Penn shortly after 1682 as an area for common usage of the citizens of Lewes and Sussex County. This was perhaps the first “public lands” established in the nation.

Another is Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. The original Fort was begun in 1817. During the Civil War it was used as a prison for captured Confederates and local Southern sympathizers. Some reports say that some of the prisoners and others who died at the Fort are still there. It was used as a Military Fort until after WWII when it was declared surplus and taken over by the State of Delaware.

There are the World War II Lookout Towers that were built along Delaware’s coast during the war. 15 towers were constructed, 11 in Delaware and 4 in New Jersey. In some ways, even with the ones in New Jersey, they are unique to Delaware and should be restored before losing them since they are mostly sitting idle looking out to sea.

Portions of this was originally published at Delmarva Town Crier.

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