Details in Delaware: Boot scrapers

“Details in Delaware” is a history-informed collaboration between Kara A. Briggs, an architectural historian with the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs State Historic Preservation Office, and Desiree May, the Division’s social media lead, to bring some interesting Delaware history facts and preservation information to the forefront.

The idea is to showcase the diversity of what the Division does, while also highlighting unique architectural features and historic cultural resources to educate the public. Check out more interesting details like these by visiting the Division on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

The boot scraper

In its simplest design, a boot scraper is found as a horizontal metal plate set in a small frame and usually located near the front steps of a building. More decorative and whimsical boot scraper frames include musical lyres and animal forms. Boot scrapers (or “foot scrapers”) were used to clear mud and caked dirt from the bottom of one’s shoes or boots before entering a building.

A boot scraper can be found outside the entry door of the Wilmington Friends Meeting House.

Detailed first in this article is a boot scraper that can be found outside the entry door of the Wilmington Friends Meeting House located at 4th and West streets in Wilmington. The phoenix and dachshund boot scrapers (below) are illustrative of more fanciful designs.

And don’t forget the Division also has a podcast with many episodes exploring fascinating details about Delaware history. Check it out at

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