Photo of the Indian River Inlet Bridge in 1933.



State-owned parlor suite on display at the Bethel Historical Society.



Selections from the Waller Photograph Collection exhibit at the Laurel Historical Society.


In recent months, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs' Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team has partnered with three Delaware organizations to develop new exhibits at locations across the state.

Working with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), the team produced two opportunities for the public to explore the historical context and construction of the Indian River Inlet Bridge, a sleek steel and concrete edifice along the state's Atlantic coast that is scheduled to open to vehicular traffic in January 2012. The exhibits, which opened in mid-December 2011, are on display at the Smyrna Rest Stop located on Route 13 north of Smyrna, and at the Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza, located between exits 1 and 3 along Interstate 95 south of Wilmington.

Working with the Bethel Historical Society, the team created "Victorian Bethel," an exhibit of Victorian-era furniture, decorative arts, nautical objects, memorabilia and accessories that opened in mid-December 2011 at the society's new facility at 312 First St. in Bethel, Del. The exhibit includes a parlor suite loaned from the collections of the state of Delaware.

Finally, the team worked with the Laurel Historical Society to produce an exhibit of images from the Waller Photograph Collection representing the life's work of Albert H. Waller and his son Norman A. Waller, two local photographers who documented life in southwestern Sussex County during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibit, whose opening date has not yet been determined, will be on display at the former railroad station on Mechanic Street in Laurel, Del.

Partnerships with the Bethel and Laurel historical societies were developed as part of the division's Affiliates Program in which professionals from the division staff—including exhibit designers, curators, museum managers, archaeologists and historians—work with history- and heritage-based organizations throughout Delaware to develop joint programs and exhibits, including potential display of items from the state's collections. The exhibit "Captain John and Sarah Avery: A 17th-Century Family on Delaware's Frontier," which was created as a result of the division's first Affiliates partnership with the Rehoboth Beach Museum and the Archaeological Society of Delaware, is currently on display at the Lewes Historical Society. Other organizations that are planning to create Affiliates projects with the division include Friends of Belmont Hall, Historic Odessa Foundation, Middletown Historical Society and the Rehoboth Art League.

The Affiliates Program has been a great success in creating new opportunities for the division to serve the public in communities where it has not previously had a presence. The program helps fulfill the division's mission by increasing accessibility to state-owned historic sites and collections that might not otherwise be open to the public, enhancing leisure and educational opportunities for the state's citizens and visitors, stimulating tourist visitation leading to economic growth and job creation and expanding public awareness of the importance of preserving and protecting Delaware's historical and cultural legacy.


Take the Delaware historic-preservation survey now.

Beginning in January 2012, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be spearheading a year-long process of updating Delaware's statewide historic-preservation plan. (Go to the following to see the current Delaware historic-preservation plan for 2008-2012.) Required as part of the state's Historic Preservation Fund grant from the National Park Service, development of a new historic-preservation plan provides an invaluable method for focusing on the broader goals and needs of Delaware's preservation community for the next five years.

Throughout the process, the planning committee will be seeking the widest possible public comments in order to thoroughly understand the needs and desires of Delawareans regarding the preservation of the state's historic places. A timeline for the development of the plan is as follows:

  • Seek input via an on-line survey to garner public comments on historic preservation views, desires, dislikes and needs. This survey will be open from January through March 2012
  • Provide additional information-gathering opportunities via a series of public meetings in late February and early March 2012
  • Produce the first draft of the plan by late spring with additional opportunities for public comment
  • Produce a revised draft of the plan by mid-summer followed by a final opportunity for public comment
  • Submit the final draft of the plan to the National Park Service for review and comment in September 2012
  • Respond to any National Park Service comments by November 2012 and prepare the plan for final adoption by the State Review Board for Historic Preservation
  • Submit the final plan to the National Park Service for approval in December 2012
  • Publish electronic and print versions of the plan in January 2013

Public input on the current state of historic preservation in Delaware is needed now to provide guidance for the development of public meetings and for compiling a list of trends and issues that are of greatest concern to constituents. In order to help with this process, please take the Delaware historic-preservation survey which contains nine questions requiring approximately 15 minutes to complete. To provide additional comments, send an e-mail to the following: preservationplan@state.de.us.



Carswell House



McColley's Chapel


The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has received notification from the National Park Service that two additional Delaware properties—the Carswell House in Newark and McColley's Chapel in Georgetown Hundred, Sussex County—have been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1948 in the International Style, the design of the Carswell House is based on plans by the well-known modern architect Edward Durell Stone which were developed and published in a series of six articles in Collier's Weekly magazine during the second quarter of 1936. The house is built into a hill that slopes gently to the rear of the property, allowing penetration of natural light into the finished basement through a series of west-facing windows slightly above ground level. Horizontal lines, white stucco facades, lack of decorative elements and steel windows extending around the house's corners cause it to stand out among the more traditional suburban residences in its vicinity.

McColley's Chapel is a well-preserved example of the Methodist meeting houses that were built across Delaware in the 19th century. Virtually identical in size, shape, massing and scale, these structures reflect the architectural aesthetic promoted in the early Methodist Discipline which called for houses of worship to be plain and decent. Built in 1898 in Colonial Revival style, the one-story, wood-framed, gabled-end chapel continues to offer worship services for its congregation on a weekly basis.



In a program held at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover on Dec. 3, 2011, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock conducted an awards and recognition ceremony celebrating the work of nearly 800 students from 18 schools across the state who participated in the 2011 Delaware Day Student Competition. Over the past 10 years, more than 7,000 Delaware fourth-grade students have participated in the program. Delaware Day commemorates the date when Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787.

Sponsored annually by Delaware's secretary of state, the Delaware Day competition is planned and organized by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs' Curator of Education Madeline Dunn in tandem with Christopher Portante, the Department of State's community relations coordinator. The competition encourages students to study the U.S. Constitution and to discover Delaware's role in its writing and ratification. Participating students were challenged to study the mechanics of the federal convention and to present their observations in the form of large panel displays which were reviewed for factual accuracy as well as creativity.

Each of the competition's winning schools was recognized with a Signer's Award named for one of Delaware's five signatories of the U.S. Constitution. The Signer's Awards for the 2011 Delaware Day Student Competition are: the George Read Award to the Learning Express Academy, Newark; the Gunning Bedford, Jr. Award to St. John's Lutheran School, Dover; the John Dickinson Award to Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Dover; the Jacob Broom Award to Lake Forest Central Elementary School, Felton; and the Richard Bassett Award to North Star Elementary School, Hockessin.

Honorable mention awards were presented to Brader Elementary School, Newark; Bunker Hill Elementary School, Middletown; Clayton Elementary School; East Dover Elementary School; Gallaher Elementary School, Newark; Hartly Elementary School; Leasure Elementary School, Newark; Loss Elementary School, Bear; Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, Wilmington; Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Selbyville; and Wilson Elementary School, Newark.


Original property deed for the land which now contains the Buena Vista Conference Center.


The original property deed for the land which now contains the Buena Vista Conference Center has recently been framed and mounted inside the center's mansion house. Featuring the wax seal and signature of William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania and the Three Lower Counties on the Delaware, the parchment document made official the granting of land to John Donaldson in 1701. The text of the document includes a number of interesting features including the location of several trees which were standing on the property at the time. These trees, primarily red oak and white oak, were used to mark the property's boundaries. In another section, Penn specified that the annual rent for the property was to be paid in "good clean merchantable winter wheat." The deed was donated to the state of Delaware by the family of former Governor C. Douglass Buck.

Located at 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), southwest of New Castle, Buena Vista is one of Delaware's most historic homes. The main section of the house was built between 1845 and 1847 by John M. Clayton, United States secretary of state from 1849 to 1850 under Presidents Taylor and Fillmore, and United States senator from 1829 to 1836, 1845 to 1849 and 1853 until his death in 1856. The home later became the residence of C. Douglass Buck, governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937 and United States senator from 1942 to 1948. Buena Vista and its grounds were donated to the state by the Buck family in 1965 and now serve as a state conference center administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.


Participants at the Dec. 12, 2011 recognition ceremony.



Recognition of museum volunteers. From left: Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Director Tim Slavin; volunteers John Downs, David Pearlmutter, Albert Dolbow, Howard Fulcher, Ken Littlehales, Arnold Leftwich, Jim Schilling, Juanita Wieczoreck; and Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock.


In a ceremony hosted by Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock on Dec. 12, 2011, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs paid tribute to the countless individuals and the more than 50 partnering organizations that have made meaningful contributions to the division's efforts to save Delaware history. Individuals in attendance who were recognized for their work include Dana Rohrbough, special project coordinator for the Delaware Department of State; Larry Schrock, construction project manager for the Delaware Division of Facilities Management; Kent County and Greater Dover, Delaware Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cindy Small; William Wells, tenant at the Lindens, a state-owned historic property in Smyrna; fundraising consultant Cam Yorkston; and Albert Dolbow, John Downs, Howard Fulcher, Arnold Leftwich, Robert Linear, Ken Littlehales, David Pearlmutter, John Rhodes, Jim Schilling and Juanita Wieczoreck who serve as volunteers at Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs-administered museums.

Partnering organizations recognized at the ceremony included the Abbott's Mill Nature Center, represented by manager Jason Beale; the Biggs Museum of American Art, represented by Beccy Cooper, Ryan Grover, Jennifer Kemske and Executive Director Linda Danko; the Friends of Belmont Hall represented by Julie Fletcher and board president Susan Wolfe; the First State Heritage Park represented by Mike Cinque, Sarah Zimmerman and Park Administrator Elaine Brenchley; and Preservation Delaware, represented by Executive Director Terry Graham.

As part of the ceremony, Bullock recognized Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs staff members Mary Harper, Gloria Henry, Ann Baker Horsey, Vertie Lee, Edward McWilliams, Jan Rettig and Art Reynolds for their years of service; and welcomed recently hired division employees who were in attendance including Joe Brake, Ken Darsney, Travis Kirspel, Al Lech, David Littleton, Lindsay McNinch, Keith Minsinger, David Price, Thomas Ratay and Ryann Schaefer.


Bank of America volunteers at Buena Vista.


On Nov. 30, 2011, a group of 10 employees from Bank of America contributed a total of 21½ volunteer-hours in helping Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs' staff members prepare the Buena Vista Conference Center for the holidays. The volunteers participated in several projects including polishing silver, stringing lights on outdoor evergreen plants and clean-up chores. The volunteer service at Buena Vista was made available as part of a Bank of America program which provides each of its employees with up to eight paid hours of volunteer time per month. Arrangements for the employees' visit were made by Lindsay McNinch, the division's volunteer-services coordinator.


Hoppin' John


On Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, the state of Delaware's three downtown Dover museums will be presenting special programming focusing on foods from three different periods in American history. The programs are components of "First Saturday in the First State," a monthly series of events sponsored by the First State Heritage Park. Admission for all programs is free and open to the public. For additional information, call the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries at 302-744-5055.

In the program, "Politics of Food," The Old State House, located at 25 The Green, will explore Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern United States dish of African origin, thought to bring prosperity in the New Year. Presentations, which will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., will examine food, slavery and petitions for freedom in Delaware from 1750 to 1851. In addition to the "Politics of Food," the museum will be open for visitation from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St., will present "Those Divas and Their Dishes," an exploration of some of the favorite meals and treats that were created and enjoyed by musical divas such as Luisa Tetrazzini and Nellie Melba. Visitors will also have an opportunity to listen to music by these artists, who were as famous for their food as they were for their singing, played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Finally, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Duke of York St., will present "We Poor Devils," a series of specialized guided tours focusing on various aspects of "The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers' Stories," a display that explores the experiences of five of the more than 13,000 Delawareans who fought in the American Civil War. Jan. 7 guided tours, which will be conducted at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m., will explore the types of foods that were eaten by Civil War soldiers. In addition to "We Poor Devils," the welcome center's displays and exhibits will be open for visitation from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Members of the public are invited to attend the next meeting of the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, from 10 a.m. to Noon, at The Old State House located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. As part of the meeting, the review board will discuss two new nominations to the National Register of Historic Places: Historic Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington and the Tunnel-West House in Ocean View. Due to limited spaces, attendees are encouraged to park their cars at the Delaware Public Archives located at 121 Duke of York St. in Dover. If the meeting is cancelled due to inclement weather, it will be rescheduled to Saturday, Jan. 18, 2012 at the same time and location.

In accordance with the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, this meeting is open to the public and copies of the minutes will be made available upon request in accordance with the law. Written comments should be submitted prior to the meeting date. Oral comments and questions will be invited during the meeting.

For additional information, please contact Gwen Davis, deputy state historic preservation officer, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, 21 The Green, Dover, DE 19901 or telephone 302-736-7410.

Individuals needing reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act may call 302-736-7400 by Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.


Chef Jay Caputo


Acclaimed chef Jay Caputo, owner of both the Espuma Restaurant and the Porcini House Bistro in Rehoboth Beach, will be the speaker at the fourth installment of "Savory Sussex," a seven-part, monthly series of programs on the unique and delectable local flavors of Sussex County, Del. The program will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at the Zwaanendael Museum located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to seating limitations, reservations must be made by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.

Raised in Dover, Del., Jay Caputo is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. His far-flung gastronomic explorations have taken him to both the East and West coasts of the United States with stints at the Lark Creek Inn and Farallon restaurants in the San Francisco area, at the Radius restaurant in Boston and as executive chef at the Tangerine Restaurant in Philadelphia.

Returning to Delaware, Caputo purchased Espuma Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach in 2004, earning praise from patrons and critics alike. In 2008 and 2009, he was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef for the Mid-Atlantic region and has participated regularly as a guest chef at the Meals from the Masters Celebrity Brunch. Caputo opened his second Rehoboth Beach eatery, Porcini House, in 2008.