Delaware - Wilmington


The Water Department office at Brandywine Pumping Station was built in 1910. The smokestack behind must be roughly the same age.

I have it on government authority that the PVMPING STATION started construction in 1906, so all of these buildings are contemporaneous.

The frontispiece of Brandywine Village is the 1771 Derrickson House, just north of Brandywine Creek on North Market Street, once the main highway through the city (US Route 13).

The 1902 Sugar Bowl Pavilion, seen from creek level, is just west of the modern US Route 13, Washington Street.

The ornate Josephine Fountain was sculpted in 1932 by General J. Ernest Smith in memory of his wife, Josephine Tatnall Smith. A general and a sculptor: a true Renaissance Man. The octagonal base (below the last photo) quotes Whittier in a tragically romantic way: Art builds on sand; the works of human passion change and fail; but that which shares the life of God with Him surviveth all.

This is the Bringhurst Fountain, erected at Pennsylvania and Delaware Avenues in 1872 in memory of the founder of the Wilmington Fountain Society. It was taken down in the 1960s and reerected here in 1988. Imagine your town having its own fountain society. We should establish more of these.

Down to the water, walking west from the Brandywine Park parking area to the first mill-era dam. These are now being deconstructed to restore the prior flow of aquaculture to the stream.

Another dam, from the south side of the river, in long and short exposures.

Walking west along the mill race on the south side, used to power Wilmington's 19th-century industry. Despite its placid appearance, you can see it has plenty of flow from what's coming over the side at its overflow point. The second photo faces east under the I-95 bridge, while the others head west from Van Buren Street to the Augustine Cut Off bridge. You can see all of these at the Brandywine Park Roads link at bottom.

My last stop is Rockford Park, where you may find a very understated monument to William Bancroft (who donated the land for this park) and a more typical one to Samuel Frances DuPont, who I call the "good DuPont" because he wasn't involved with harsh chemicals or capitalism. He was a Rear Admiral who served in the Civil War and led the ill-fated battleship attack on Charleston midway through the war. He gets this statue, Fort Du Pont (in DE), and Dupont Circle in DC named after him, while all the other Duponts are named after the "bad ones."

The main feature of the park is the Rockford Tower, built as a joint water tower and observatory as the plaque says. My sources say that in addition to this plaque's information, the tower features Gothic elements and was actually completed in 1901, though the observatory only opened in 1904.

The most Gothic part of the tower is the gargoyles arranged around the base of the roof. It also uniquely features a sundial where one might expect a clock. Advantage: no mechanical or electrical energy needed. Disadvantages: doesn't work on a cloudy day, very confusing if you think it's a broken clock stuck at 6:30 with all the numerals out of place.

Wilmington and Brandywine Parkroads photos
Back to Delaware Non-Roads
Back to Non-Roads main page