On May 15, 2015, the City of Dover, Del. received notification it had been accorded the status of a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service. Part of a nationwide effort, Delaware’s Certified Local Government Program is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office in partnership with the National Park Service. The program strengthens preservation efforts at the local-level by providing technical and financial assistance, while encouraging successful preservation programs and practices. Delaware now has six Certified Local Governments: Delaware City, Dover, Lewes, Milton, New Castle County and the City of Wilmington.
Founded by William Penn in 1683, Dover is one of the state’s most historic cities. In 1777, Delaware’s capital was moved there from New Castle because of the city’s central location and relative safety from British warships operating in the Delaware River. The Dover Green, now a component of the First State National Historical Park, functioned for nearly 200 years as the city’s commercial and governmental center. It served as the site where the Declaration of Independence was read to the townspeople in 1776, and where a Continental regiment was mustered for service in the American Revolution. The Green was also home to a number of taverns and inns including the Golden Fleece Tavern where representatives from Delaware’s three counties ratified the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787, becoming the first state to do so. The Green remains the historical heart of Dover and is the location of The Old State House, Delaware Supreme Court and the Kent County Courthouse.
For information about the Dover Green Historic District and the Victorian Dover Historic District, as well as individual Dover properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, go to Delaware’s Cultural and Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS). Go to the following for Dover’s historic district guidelines.