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Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery

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1843. 1913 chapel, E. James Dallett. Delaware Ave. and Adams St.
  • (Matthew Aungst)
  • (Matthew Aungst)
  • (Matthew Aungst)
  • (Matthew Aungst)
  • (Matthew Aungst)
  • (Matthew Aungst)

The rural cemetery movement left few examples in Delaware. Behind this cemetery's entrance gates is a rare Cedar of Lebanon tree, brought here by botanist James Canby c. 1850. To the right is the late-nineteenth-century caretaker's office. A straight avenue leads past the Gothic Revival chapel of fieldstone, the last work of Dallett, whose casket would lie there four years later. A cast-iron dog guarding the Néo-Grec Cleaden monument (c. 1873) recalls memoirist Henry Seidel Canby's recollections of the many such dogs beside doorsteps in the Wilmington of his youth. On the right side of the cemetery is the white marble, Egyptian-style obelisk dedicated to Alexander Porter, who drowned in a shipwreck off Africa in 1827 (brought from the Old First Presbyterian burying ground; see WL58); the Néo-Grec Robinson monument with small, polished red columns (c. 1878); and the Adams mausoleum, also Néo-Grec, with a fine gate (1887). On the left side are the matching, Gothic Revival Harlan and Gause mausolea (c. 1880). An additional graveyard was located just east of the cemetery but was razed for a parking lot in the 1950s and forgotten. Hospital expansion on the site in the 1990s led to its surprising rediscovery and a controversial archaeological excavation in which hundreds of bodies—many of them Irish paupers—were removed for reinterment elsewhere.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery", [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, 116-117.

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