How Can Historic Preservation be used in Delaware?

Example of how historic preservation is used in DelawarePreservation is more than repairing aging buildings. It is a technique for encouraging economic vitality and preserving cultural identity that is already working in The First State.

Tourism is a $2.1 billion industry in Delaware. Travelers are choosing Delaware as their destination of choice, and as a result, spurring economic growth. Practicing historic preservation is one way communities can attract tourism dollars.  Communities can showcase their historical significance by joining the Delaware History Trail, creating walking tours that highlight historic locations, and adding preserved buildings to Delaware’s Geocaching Trail.

Historic preservation is keeping Delaware’s maritime, agricultural, and industrial heritage alive. From the arrival of the Dutch at Lewes in 1630, to Milford’s shipbuilding dominance from the late 1700’s through World War II, Delaware has had a prominent role in maritime history. Efforts such as the preservation of the Lightship Overfalls in Lewes and the Indian River Life Saving Station in Rehoboth Beach celebrate and commemorate Delaware’s sea faring legacy.

Agriculture is still the predominant land use in Delaware. The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village educates visitors on Delaware’s historic contributions to the industry as well as farming’s continued role in the life of Delawareans. The John Dickinson Plantation, the preserved home of a revolutionary leader, gives light to the lives of those in rural 18th Century Delaware and its owner’s role in the founding of our nation.

The arrival and expansion of industry in Delaware has played an immense role in the state’s development. Constructed in 1802, the Hagley Museum brings visitors to a DuPont powder works and tells the story of early industrialism in northern Delaware. Winterthur, a 1839 home that gives testament to the wealth of the DuPont family, is furnished in period pieces and holds one of the foremost collections of Americana. The Seaford Museum, run by the Seaford Historical Society, traces DuPont’s wartime production of parachutes to its long run as the nylon capital of the world.

Preservation is a powerful tool that Delaware communities can use to foster economic development, tourism, and sustainability initiatives. Communities can develop strategic historic preservation plans, in collaboration with the State Historic Preservation Office, to capitalize on their unique historic resources that have a proven positive impact on economic development, heritage tourism, and quality of life.


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