Delaware’s original capital, NEW CASTLE, fronts the broad Delaware River, just six miles south of Wilmington via Hwy-141. Founded in the 1650s by the Dutch and taken over by the British in 1664, New Castle has managed to survive intact, its quiet cobbled streets and immaculate eighteenth-century brick houses shaded by ancient hardwood trees.
The heart of New Castle is the tree-filled town square that spreads east from the shops of Delaware Street, dominated by the stalwart tower of the Immanuel Episcopal Church, built in 1703 and bordered by tidy rows of eighteenth-century gravestones. On the west edge of the green, the Old Court House, 211 Delaware St (Wed–Sat 10am–3.30pm, Sun 1.30–4.30pm; free), was built in 1732 and served as the first state capitol until 1881. Its dainty cupola provided the vista from which surveyors determined the state’s arcing northern border, drawn up when Delaware seceded from Pennsylvania (and Great Britain) in 1776.