An interpretive plan for the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site is getting underway, outlining what’s needed to design a publicly accessible and community-focused experience of the historic site.

Photo of the Cooch's Bridge Historic Site including the modern-era bridge at left and the Cooch homestead at right.
Section of the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site including the modern-era bridge at left and the Cooch Homestead at right.

Site Manager Kaitlyn Dykes and staff from the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs are working with Cultural Institution Consultant Robert Forloney to prepare a document that will assess the needs of the site, from administration and management to visitor experience to community and stakeholder engagement, as well as possible design options for what that would ultimately look like.

Photo of Cooch-Dayett Mills ca 1910
Cooch-Dayett Mills circa 1910.

“The goal is to create a site where the interpretation is really community driven and includes the more expansive history of the site while putting a laser focus on what people want to see and hear from us as we build from the ground up,” Dykes said. “Most places don’t get to do that  because most historic sites are already established by the time they reach out to the community. We’re in a very cool spot where we get to reach out to the community first to build the foundation.”

The goal is to have a plan completed in 2023, to guide work over the next two to five years.

In order to do that, the public is encouraged to participate in upcoming public workshops this October. Two will be held in person, and one will be held virtually:

  • Monday, Oct. 3, from 6-8 p.m., in person at the Buena Vista Conference Center, 661 S. Dupont Highway, New Castle. Free and open to the public
  • Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., in person at the Buena Vista Conference Center, 661 S. Dupont Highway, New Castle. Free and open to the public
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 6-8 p.m. Virtual workshop streamed live via Zoom. Free but registration required by clicking here

For additional information, call the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site at 302-922-7116 or mailto:CBmuseum@delaware.gov.

Owned by the State of Delaware and administered by the division, the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site currently has multiple components, including the Cooch Homestead and Cooch-Dayett Mill complex. The homestead, which includes a 10-acre parcel with the historic home and outbuildings, was the focal point for the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the only Revolutionary War battle fought on Delaware soil.

The mill complex includes the circa-1830s mill, miller’s house, outbuildings and the right-of-way access to the mill race and dams along the Christina River. The current mill is the third in a succession of grist mills built by the family in this area, with the first dating to the mid-18th century. This portion of the property spans more than 60 acres and includes preserved land such as floodplain, meadows and a leased agricultural field. Both components of the property help tell the agricultural and industrial story in and around Newark and illuminate the lives of those who worked and lived in the area.