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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wilmington in New Castle County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Rockwood

 
 
Rockwood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
1. Rockwood Marker
Inscription. Rockwood Mansion was completed in 1854 as the retirement home of Wilmington native Joseph Shipley. Shipley amassed his fortune as a merchant banker while living in Liverpool, England. Joseph Shipley hired Liverpool architect George Williams to design a Rural Gothic style home similar to Shipley's country house in England. The gardens of Rockwood were designed to imitate nature. The rolling lawns, curving paths, and placement of trees were carefully planned to resemble an English country estate. In 1891 Joseph Shipley's great nephew Edward Bringhurst Jr. inherited the estate, and moved into Rockwood with his family the following year. The Bringhurst family extensively redecorated the interior of the Mansion. Members of the family inhabited the Mansion until 1972 when New Castle County obtained ownership. Rockwood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Erected 2006 by Delaware Public Archives. (Marker Number NC-165.)
 
Location. 39° 46.345′ N, 75° 31.16′ W. Marker is in Wilmington, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker can be reached from Washington Blvd. 0.2 miles south of Shipley Road. Touch for map. Marker is at the Northwest corner of the parking lot of Rockwood Park. Marker is in this post office area: Wilmington DE 19809, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Rockwood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
2. Rockwood Marker
Path leading to Mansion.
At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Blue Rock Community Club (approx. 1.1 miles away); Riverview Cemetery (approx. 1.1 miles away); Mount Pleasant School (approx. 1.3 miles away); Lombardy Hall (approx. 1 miles away); Gunning Bedford, Jr. (approx. 1 miles away); One Love Park (approx. 1.6 miles away); Shiloh Baptist Church (approx. 1.6 miles away); Salesianum School (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wilmington.
 
Also see . . .  Rockwood Mansion and Gardens. (Submitted on November 16, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
 
Categories. Notable BuildingsNotable Persons
 
Rockwood Mansion Descriptive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
3. Rockwood Mansion Descriptive Marker
Joseph Shipley built Rockwood between 1851 and 1854. A Wilmington native, Shipley amassed his fortune as a merchant and banker in Liverpool, England. In 1851, he retired to Wilmington and hired Liverpool architect George Williams to design a house similar to Shipley's Victorian country house in England. Shipley shared Rockwood with his unmarried sisters. After the death of the last sister, Rockwood passed to her great-nephew Edward Bringhurst, Jr. in 1891.
Left; Joseph Shipley about 1840. Middle: Earliest image of Rockwood Mansion about 1860. Top Right: Wyncote, Joseph Shipley's residence in England designed by George Williams in 1840.
Rockwood Mansion image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
4. Rockwood Mansion
Ha-Ha Descriptive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
5. Ha-Ha Descriptive Marker
A. ha-ha is a sunken wall often used on English estates instead of a fence because it allowed for uninterrupted views of the meadows while keeping out livestock. Such views at Rockwood are best appreciated on the veranda, from where the ha-has appear to be continuous. In keeping with his desire to create an English estate, Joseph Shipley had a ha-ha built to separate his gardens from the rest of the property.
Left: Illustration of a ha-ha from Edward Kemp's How to Lay Out a Garden, 1850.
Center: The ha-ha from the north lawn, 2002.
Right: The ha-ha from the south lawn, 2003.
Ha-ha image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
6. Ha-ha
Conservatory Descriptive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
7. Conservatory Descriptive Marker
To replicate the conservatory of his beloved English house, Wyncote, Joseph Shipley imported nearly identical cast-iron supports and glass from England. A hot-water heating system tat ran under the floor helped keep the displayed plants healthy during the winter months, in the summer all of the plants were taken out to the garden. Left: George Williams' design for the conservatory at Rockwood, 1851 Middle: George Kennedy Smith and Edward Bringhurst III in the conservatory. Right: Wyncote with conservatory, designed by George Williams about 1840, photograph about 1920.
Conservatory image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, August 10, 2008
8. Conservatory
Fruit Cellar Descriptive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
9. Fruit Cellar Descriptive Marker
This structure, dating from the 1850's provided storage for fruits and vegetables grown on the property. The cool, even temperatures of this underground vault kept fruits and vegetables fresh for an extended period of time, allowing Joseph Shipley to serve fresh pears in December. Contrary to its above-ground appearance, the two level interior extends between eight and ten feet into the ground.
Above: The fruit cellar in winter, about 1920.
Fruit Cellar image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
10. Fruit Cellar
Edward's Playhouse Descriptive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
11. Edward's Playhouse Descriptive Marker
This ruin is the surviving part of a farmhouse that stood on the Levi Weldin property at the time that Joseph Shipley purchased the land. In the 1890s the Bringhurst family altered the structure, turning it into a playhouse for their youngest child, Edward.
Left: Edward Bringhurst III reads a book next to the playhouse, about 1895.
Middle: Interior of the playhouse, about 1895.
Right: Edward Bringhurst III, about 1895.
Remains of Edward's Playhouse image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
12. Remains of Edward's Playhouse
The Lodge Descriptive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
13. The Lodge Descriptive Marker
Visitors coming to Rockwood entered the property through a gate by this lodge, where the gatekeeper lived. Baltimore architects Thomas and James Dixon designed the building in 1855. The building's style and materials introduced visitors to Joseph Shipley's English country house, which they would see at the top of the hill.
Left: Thomas and James Dixon's design for the lodge, 1855.
Middle: The lodge as seen from the gate about 1900.
Right: The lodge, about 1892.
The Lodge image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, November 7, 2008
14. The Lodge
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 16, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,228 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on November 16, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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