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Brandywine Springs Park

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1826 and later. Faulkland Rd. and DE 41
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Only foundations suggest the dozens of structures that made up a nationally famous mineral spring resort (1826–1852) and, later, amusement park (1886–1923). From the foot of the ridge sprang foul smelling but healthful chalybeate (iron rich) springs. Above the historic brow of the hill stood the Council Oak, labeled by resort promotors as a meeting place of George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette; it died in 1993. Ground-penetrating radar has revealed the site of a group of Greek Revival houses designed by Thomas U. Walter for Philadelphian Matthew Newkirk (1835–1836), where a basketball court is now. Just east was the great Saratoga-like colonnaded hotel (1826, burned 1853). That hotel may have been the work of Benjamin Ferris, whose survey and sketches survive. Along Red Clay Creek runs the Wilmington and Western Railroad (CH30), the groundbreaking ceremony for which was held at this site in July 1871. Brandywine Springs became Delaware's first state park in 1951 but later came under county control (1970). Bridges have been rebuilt and signs installed to display historic photographs. Near the railroad, archaeology undertaken in 1993–1994 located the electrified entrance archway. Dozens of light sockets were unearthed, some still in working condition.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Brandywine Springs Park", [Wilmington, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 168-168.

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