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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

DELAWARE

“The First State”

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Delaware

Delaware is our earliest state, and one of the original 13 colonies. Even though this tiny state is seldom written about in ghost town lore, its rich heritage, changing economics and long-time heritage has produced a wealth of faded towns that were once based on manufacturing, fishing, agriculture and other natural resource-based industry. As times changed and needs changed, the reason for many of these old communities died with the industry, and the towns soon followed suit.

 

As is typical with most eastern state ghost towns, you won't find stereotypical sites here. What is here is faded towns that are still lived in, and may not even look like a ghost. However, the population may be many times less than what the town supported in its boom days. Also if the site has been totally abandoned, all that may remain might be memories in a plowed field or covered under the asphalt of a highway. Other sites may be a few caving cellar holes and foundation outlines hidden in the woods.

 

A lot of local research will be needed to ferret out the ghost towns of Delaware, but they are there.  I have not personally visited any of the ghost towns in this state except the site of ZWAANENDAEL, so the sites listed may differ now from when I obtained the information on them. If you live in DE or have visited any of these places, please send me an update.  I can then update this list and my files.

 

Some of the vignettes below contain specific words that are listed on our DEFINITIONS page.  If you are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word in a ghost town sense, click on the link and scroll down to that term.  You can use the BACK button on the browser to return to this page.

 

Thank you, and enjoy!

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Where photos are indicated thusly (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ABBOTTS MILL

Sussex Co.

Abbott's Mill is located about four miles southwest of Milford on Abbott's Pond Road (State Highway [SH] 620) west of SH 36 and 300 yards east of SH 617 at the north end of Abbott’s Pond.  Today the old mill is part of the Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, and is a state museum run by the Delaware Nature Society.  The old mill building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  This old grist mill operated from the early 1800s until early 1900s.

 

·        Latitude: 38.8865020 / 38° 53' 11" N

·        Longitude: -75.4765883 / 75° 28' 36" W

ALLEE HOUSE

Kent Co.

On north side of Dutch Neck Road, 0.6 miles east of its junction with SH 9, south of the junction of SH 6/9, about five miles east of Smyrna and 3.5 miles north of Leipsic.  This was an old plantation, and the brick, two-story house was built around 1753 by Abraham Allee.  The house was restored and refurnished in 1966, and in 1971 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is now part of the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.  According to its website, on Mar 22, 2007, it “Closed (03/22/2007) until further notice for repairs.”   That was still in effect as of January 04, 2010.

 

·        Latitude: 39.284631

·        Longitude: -75.504447

ANDREWSVILLE

Kent Co.

This tiny class D rural community is located on SH 304 (Andrewville Road) about 1.8 miles north of the county line and three miles west of US 13 at Farmington.  It is at the junction of Prospect Church Road/Andrewville Road. The GNIS topographic map/aerial photo shows scattered buildings, including the Bethel Church and a cemetery across the street.

 

·        Latitude: 38.8615024 / 38° 51’ 41” N

·        Longitude: -75.6349277 / 75° 38’ 06” W

CAPE HENLOPEN LIGHTHOUSE

Sussex Co.

Formerly located on Cape Henlopen east of Lewes at the southern tip of the mouth of Delaware Bay, this lighthouse was built on shifting sand dunes, and the structure collapsed in April of 1926.  It was originally built in 1767 of stones brought in from another part of the state.  It was over 69 feet tall and 26 feet in diameter with six-foot thick walls at the base. 

 

·        Latitude: 38.8031678 / 38° 48’ 11” N

·        Longitude: -75.0946255 / 75° 05’ 41” W

FENWICK ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

Sussex Co.

This historic old lighthouse was built in 1858 and was originally powered by oil.  Two caretakers lived on site with their families in houses located on either side of the lighthouse.  It is on Fenwick Island, just about 20 feet north of the DE/MD state line in the extreme southeastern corner of the state.  The front of the building just to the west actually sits on the state line.  The light is now powered by electricity, and the grounds are operated as a museum.  The lighthouse was restored in 1997-1998.  The town is a very busy beach town.

 

·        Latitude: 38.451354

·        Longitude: -75.054938

FORT CHRISTINA

New Castle Co.

On 7th St., just east of downtown Wilmington, on the north side of the Christina River. Site of first permanent settlement in Delaware Valley, where the Swedes landed in 1638.  Peter Menuet built a fortress, which he named Fort Christina, after the queen of Sweden.  It is now protected as Fort Christina State Park. 

 

·        Latitude: 39.7376134 / 39° 44’ 15” N

·        Longitude: -75.5382552 / 75° 32’ 18” W

FORT DELAWARE

New Castle Co.

On southeast part of Pea Patch Island, in the middle of the Delaware River, just east of Delaware City.  This five-pointed masonry fort was originally built in 1813, but stopped. In 1819 construction restarted, but fire destroyed it in 1831. Two years later the ruins were demolished. After a brief boundary dispute with New Jersey, construction began again in 1848, and it was completed in 1859.  The fort was first occupied by an artillery company in February 1861, then by August, 1863, some 12,000 Southern prisoners of war were housed in frame barracks constructed for that purpose. The fort was quiet between 1865 and 1896, when it was again fully garrisoned. It closed again in 1903, was reactivated from 1917-1919, and 1939-1943 when the guns were cut up for scrap.  The fort deactivated in 1944, was declared surplus property, and was given to the State of Delaware. It is now a state park, and access is via boat.

 

·        Latitude: 39.5894444 / 39° 35’ 22” N

·        Longitude: -75.5675000 / 75° 34’ 03” W

FORT MILES

Sussex Co.

This 1925-1949 military base was located northeast of Lewes, at the mouth of Delaware Bay on Cape Henlopen.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, and consists of 51 buildings and nine other structures.  The University of Delaware, College of Marine Studies occupies the site now.

 

·        Latitude: 38.7847222 / 38° 47’ 05” N

·        Longitude: -75.0944444 / 75° 05’ 40” W

FORT SAULSBURY

Sussex Co.

On south side of Cedar Beach Road (SH 36), in the northeast corner of the county, Ύ mile west of Cedar Beach and about two miles northwest of Slaughter Beach, six miles east of Milford.  This old fort is owned by the Kendzierski family, who purchased it in 1948.  It was built by the US Army in 1917, and operated until 1946.  It was the site of two large bunkers and several batteries of huge guns placed to protect the coast from an enemy that never arrived. During WW II, additional buildings were built, which included an administration building, infirmary, recreation building and storehouse.

 

·        Latitude: 38.9340015 / 38° 56’ 02” N

·        Longitude: -75.3315813 / 75° 19’ 54” W

NEMOURS

New Castle Co.

3.5 miles north of Wilmington, west of US 202, north of SH 141, at the forks of the creek just northeast of Rockland Road.  That places this site in the heart of the Dupont Country Club.  Obviously the site is on private property and nothing remains IF that is indeed the site.

 

·        Latitude: 39.7887236 / 39° 47’ 19” N

·        Longitude: -75.6540911 / 75° 33’ 51” W

OLD FURNACE

Sussex Co.

On a branch of Deep Creek, where SH 46 crosses it, about five miles northeast of Seaford.  This old iron furnace was also called Deep Creek Furnace.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  Its years of operation were 1750-1799.  The site is on private property.

 

·        Latitude: 38.6667810 / 38° 40’ 00” N

·        Longitude: -75.5163124 / 75° 30’ 59” W

PINE GROVE FURNACE

Sussex Co.

The site of this old iron furnace is at Concord.  It is on private property, but is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having been added in 1978.  The furnace operated 1750-1799.  The furnace is not listed on GNIS, but Concord is.  It is located about three miles east of Seaford and a couple miles southwest of Old Furnace.  It is at the junction of Concord Pond Road/Church Road.

 

CONCORD

·        Latitude: 38.6420589 / 38° 38’ 31” N

·        Longitude: -75.5552027 / 75° 33’ 19” W

ROBINSONVILLE

Sussex Co.

Southwest of Lewes, at the three-way junction of Robinsonville Road (SH 227)/Kendale Road (SH 287), between SH 23 and SH 24, southwest of Lewes and due west of Rehoboth Beach.  The aerial photo looks like a scattered rural community.

 

·        Latitude: 38.7137234 / 38° 42’ 49” N

·        Longitude: -75.1921301 / 75° 11’ 32” W

ZWAANENDAEL

 

Sussex Co.

Founded in 1631 by a group of Dutch settlers under he leadership of Captain David Pietersen de Vries. They sailed from Holland and called their new colony Zwaanendael, which means "Valley of Swans."

See our ZWAANENDAEL  page for additional details.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

 Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is currently in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of *** ™

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

 

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of DELAWARE, contact us at:

Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to any e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line. 

THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in DELAWARE above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

 

 

When you are exploring the ghost towns of DELAWARE, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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THIS PAGE

FIRST POSTED:  January 12, 2001

LAST UPDATED: August 06, 2010

 

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