In a ceremony on May 29, 2015 a group of dignitaries headed by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper unveiled two interpretive signs featuring historical information about The Green in Dover, Del. The Green is a component of the First State National Historical Park which spotlights the state’s early Dutch, Swedish and English settlements and its role in the events leading up to the founding of the United States as a nation.
During his comments, delivered to a large assemblage including a group of first-grade students from Dover’s Holy Cross School, Carper noted that while Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, it was the only state that did not have a national park when he and the other members of Delaware’s Congressional delegation began efforts to rectify that situation in 2001. Together with the work of countless Delawareans, their efforts came to fruition in 2013 when President Obama issued a proclamation establishing the First State National Monument. The expanded First State National Historical Park was officially established as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 which was signed by the president on Dec. 19, 2015.
Designated by William Penn in 1683, the Dover Green 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.