August 25, 2013

8/1/13 - First State NM

As of March, there's a brand-new national park in Delaware.  We waited for the rain to stop before we left to go visit the New Castle Court House unit of First State National Monument. Obviously we were a little premature.  Delaware was the "First State" to ratify the US Constitution--and the last one to get a national park.  I don't think that's related.
As soon as we walked in, a volunteer gave us a personalized tour of the court house.  As we followed our guide out of the court room, she showed us a section of the floor was covered with glass.  It looked a little like someone had started an archaeology dig but she said there were no records on when it was dug. I noticed a big footprint in the dirt.  She told us that before VP Joe Biden (ex-US Senator of Delaware) came to visit, the Secret Service had to check it out.  The footprint belonged to one of the agents looking to make sure nothing was hidden there.  It already makes a nice anecdotal footnote (ha!) to history.

For a short time, the court house served as the State House of the first capital of Delaware.  We learned more about the history of Delaware than I ever expected to know. (You could tell she had been a good teacher.)
Adjacent to the Court House is the Sheriff's House, also part of the park.  The first county prison in the state was downstairs.  (Seems to me that it should have been above where the sheriff lived--that way if a prisoner escaped, he'd have to tiptoe past the sheriff's bedroom.)
The New Castle Green is surrounded by historic buildings.  The Arsenal was used for ammunition storage for the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.  Check out the passageway through the middle of the Town Hall.  Farmers used to drive their animals through to the Green behind it on market day.  I like the hexagonal shape of the Library Museum.
The Arsenal 1809
Old Town Hall & Market Place 1823
Immanuel Church 1703 (Tower 1822)

Old Library Museum 1892
 Then, for some reason, I started looking at doors around town. What's your favorite? 
Click for more pictures of New Castle and First State NM.

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