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For the colonial traveler, arrival in Delaware meant paying a toll at Naamans Creek Bridge, twenty miles from Philadelphia (still indicated by a highway stone). Blue rock was quarried along the creek and transported widely via the Delaware River. Nearby Claymont had charm and convenience and was an attractive locale for a summer home overlooking the water. It was served by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad starting in 1837. Great changes came with the construction of plants for General Chemical (1912), National Aniline Chemical (1914), and Worth Steel (1916), and today Claymont is a good place to study planned worker housing. Much of its early architecture has been lost or spoiled, including the Practical Farmer Inn (c. 1750; demolished 1974), famous for having been hit by a British naval shell in the War of 1812. A McDonald's restaurant was built on the front lawn of the demolished eighteenth-century Lackey Mansion and a Burger King in front of the Burr House (1756). The A. A. Grubb House (1783; 1913, Roscoe Cook Tindall) survived as a convent. Road widening has taken many buildings, as have two Interstate highways, I-95 and I-495. With a population of 9,800, unincorporated Claymont is today the seventh-largest community in the state.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard

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