New signs mark history of Wilmington’s Rodney Square

Wilmington officials unveiled a new marker commemorating the history and importance of Wilmington’s Rodney Square.

Like most things in Wilmington, Delaware, the history of the the city’s Rodney Square can be traced back to the DuPont Company. The center city block that now serves as transit hub for DART buses and home for the the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival was once home to the city’s water reservoir. The reservoir provided drinking water to city residents from 1827 until 1877, when Cool Spring Reservoir opened.

Eventually, under the guidance of DuPont leaders, Rodney Square became the center point of downtown Wilmington. The one and a half acre grassy park was soon surrounded by the new headquarters building for the chemical giant and other buildings that drew hundreds of workers and residents to the block every day. Those other structures included the Wilmington Public Building, which housed city and New Castle County government offices. The Wilmington public library and the post office bookended the block.

In 2011, the Rodney Square landscape and buildings, including the statue commemorating Caesar Rodney;s historic ride to Philadelphia and DuPont’s Nemours Building were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On Monday, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and other leaders dedicated a marker recognizing Rodney Square’s significance in Wilmington’s history and touting it’s future. Purzycki recently announced plans to refurbish the park in cooperation with the Friends of Rodney Square group. That refurbishment will include changes to the park’s look and feel. More grass will be added and the park’s long unused water features will be repaired. New lighting will be installed as well.

 

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