“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)

A Pathway through the Past

A Pathway through the Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, April 3, 2010
1. A Pathway through the Past Marker
Inscription. The trail you are standing on is surrounded by clues to this area's history. Some clues are clearly visible. Others are in the ground where you cannot see them. Archaeologists and historians study all these clues along with written records to learn what happened here in the past.

Grinding stones and broken pieces of pottery show us that there was once a village of Native Americans here. These clues were discovered by archaeologists digging nearby. There were settlements in Delaware as early as 12,000 years ago. The first European explorers found the Lenni Lenape Indians farming this land. Colonists from Sweden started settling in this area in 1638. Early documents tell us that a Swedish grist mill was located on a small stream somewhere near here. Though the Dutch seized control of the Swedish colony in 1657, and the English took over from the Dutch seven years later, the land itself remained in the hands of the original Swedish families for decades to come.

The granite in the ground all around you became an important industry to this area early in the 19th century. It was used to build breakwaters, roadways, bridges, buildings, and homes. The first big mining operation started not far from here, on the western side of the Philadelphia Pike. A cluster of small buildings around the large, open pit mine came to be known as

Sarah Brooks House image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, April 3, 2010
2. Sarah Brooks House
Quarryville. By 1885, a new quarry was dug on nearby Shellpot Creek.

Near the Philadephia Pike, you can see a house close to this trail that has stood there since before the American Revolution. Property records tell us that Sarah Brooks built this house on land she inherited from her father in 1759. She lived here until her death in 1784. The original structure, which was built of logs, is now covered with board siding. The addition built with blue stone granite was constructed around 1800.

Along this trail, you will find the foundations of a railroad embankment and bridge. The Bellevue Quarry Company built this railway around 1881 to move stone to the main rail lines serving Philadelphia and Wilmington. By 1899, the tracks of the Darby Line of trolleys crossed the land near here. This line connected Wilmington, Delaware to Darby, Pennsylvania where passengers could board trains to Philadelphia. It was this trolley line that the Cauffiel family rode from Wilmington to reach their summer home on this property.

On the hillside above you stands the red brick Cauffiel House, with nearby wooden farm buildings. Even before the Civil War, wealthy families were buying land in this area for their country homes. In the 1880s, the land around you was part of an estate owned by State Supreme Court Justice Charles B. Lore. He called it "Gevendolen." In 1993, the State of Delaware purchased this land from the Cauffiel family, opening it to the public as part of Bellevue State Park.
Location. 39° 46.583′ N, 75° 29.083′ W. Marker is in Wilmington, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker can be reached from Cauffiel Parkway. Touch for map. Marker located along Cauffiel Park, which is part of Bellevue State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Wilmington DE 19809, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Cauffiel House and Estate (within shouting distance of this marker); Mount Pleasant School (approx. 0.6 miles away); Blue Rock Community Club (approx. 1.4 miles away); Mother Catherine Rosarii (approx. 1.8 miles away); Grubb/Worth Mansion (approx. 1.8 miles away); Rockwood (approx. 1.9 miles away); Old Claymont High School (approx. 2.1 miles away); Village of Arden (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wilmington.
Categories. EnvironmentIndustry & CommerceNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 15, 2011, by Nate Davidson of Salisbury, Maryland. This page has been viewed 752 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 15, 2011, by Nate Davidson of Salisbury, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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