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Smyrna

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Originally called Duck Creek Crossroads, where two colonial highways intersected and grain could be shipped by water, the town became Smyrna in 1806. Its architecture is unusually rich, with good examples of colonial and nineteenth-century buildings side-by-side in picturesque groupings along the grid of streets. The National Register District includes nearly 500 structures, many of which appear on a bird's-eye lithograph of 1885. At the center of Smyrna is the Four Corners crossroads, with an eclectic grouping of commercial buildings. N. Main Street is marked by interesting nineteenth-century houses in a variety of styles, including the Alexander G. Cummins House (1874–1875), at 107; its owner was rector of the local Episcopal Church, which explains the unusually literal treatment of the Gothic Revival in his house, with a variety of window shapes and a colorful slate roof. On the south side of town is Odd Fellows Cemetery; its rare wooden gate (1864, recently restored), with lifelike hands reaching down from a round arch and holding three links of chain, was illustrated by John Maass in his groundbreaking book on Victoriana, The Gingerbread Age (1957). The Du Pont Highway came through just east of Smyrna in 1923. John Bassett Moore Intermediate School (1920–1936, Ballinger Company; 29 W. Frazier St.), renovated in 2003, contains six Federal Arts Project murals by Edward L. Grant, Walter Pyle, and Stafford Good, including the latter's Cavalcade of Delaware (1935–1936). Highway DE 1 has lately eased the commute to Wilmington and Dover, bringing extraordinary development.

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard

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