Beginning in late-March, 2015, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be conducting a series of capital improvements at several state-owned historic properties that it administers in downtown New Castle, Del. These improvements, which are scheduled to take place through the end of 2015, represent a $350,000 public investment in the historic city on the Delaware River that serves as the home of one of the state of Delaware’s six museums, as well as the headquarters of the First State National Historical Park.
Improvements will include roof replacement at the New Castle Court House Museum, renovation of the Arsenal’s south entry-door and first-floor restroom, rebuilding of a deteriorating brick garden-wall at the Academy and stabilization of the Green’s pedestrian pathways.
New Castle residents and visitors may experience some inconveniences during the time that improvements are taking place including temporary restrictions on pedestrian access; and the presence of building equipment, materials and barriers. In particular, roofing materials that will be utilized at the New Castle Court House will be temporarily placed along the curb near the Sheriff’s House located at 10 Market St. This placement, approved by the City of New Castle, will provide workers with ready access to the supplies and equipment that they need to expedite the repair process. With this and all of the other components of the 2015 New Castle Campus Improvement Plan, division staff, project consultants and contractors will make every effort to keep disruptions to a minimum and to facilitate the timely completion of improvements that will make historic New Castle a better place to live and visit.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ 2015 New Castle Campus Improvement Plan includes projects at the following locations:
The New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St.
Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House served as Delaware’s first court and state capitol. Here in 1776, New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties declared their independence from Pennsylvania and England creating the Delaware State. Operated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the museum features tours and exhibits that illustrate Delaware’s unique boundaries, law and government and the Underground Railroad.Scheduled improvements include removal of the court house’s deteriorated terra-cotta roofing system; installation of a new terra-cotta roofing system and flashings; new coating on the west-wing metal roof; renovations to the cupola metal-roof and weathervane; replacement of balustrade wood-components where needed; and associated repairs.
The Arsenal, 30 Market St.
The Arsenal was originally constructed in 1809 as a one-story windowless building used by the United States government as a storage place for weapons and ammunition. Transferred to the Trustees of the New Castle Common in the mid-1800s, the building was enlarged to two stories in 1855 for use as a school. It served as the New Castle High School until 1930 and was later used for offices and a restaurant. The building is currently leased to the New Castle Historical Society which utilizes it for office space and as a venue for events. Scheduled improvements include renovation of the building’s south entry-door and first-floor restroom to meet current accessibility standards.
New Castle Academy, 31 E. Third St.
The New Castle Academy was built in 1799 according to a design by Peter Crowding, a Philadelphia master builder. It served as a public school until 1930 when the New Castle High School was built. The building is currently leased to Immanuel Episcopal Church which utilizes it for many church-related and community activities. Scheduled improvements include rebuilding of the deteriorating brick garden-wall along the Third Street side of the building.
New Castle Green
The New Castle Green was laid out by the Dutch in 1655. Several of New Castle’s most important buildings surround this town commons including The New Castle Court House Museum, the Sheriff’s House, the Arsenal, Immanuel Episcopal Church and the Academy. Scheduled improvements include stabilization of sections of the Green’s pedestrian pathways where the grading has deteriorated.