Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Wilmington (Delaware)

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WILMINGTON, a city of Delaware, the county-seat of Newcastle co. It is on the junction of the Delaware, Christiana, and Brandywine rivers, and is on the Pennsylvania, the Baltimore and Ohio, and the Philadelphia and Reading railroads. There are also five suburban trolley lines, which lead in all directions from the city. Wilmington is the metropolis of Delaware, and is 27 miles S. W. of Philadelphia and 67 miles N. E. of Baltimore. It is most attractively situated in the valley of the Brandywine. There are within the city limits 148 miles of streets, of which over 80 miles are paved. There are 123 miles of sewers. The city is unusually well lighted. The main park system along the Brandywine creek covers over 500 acres, and there are 18 smaller parks in congested centers. There are many playgrounds and athletic fields throughout the city. Municipal swimming pools are maintained. The industries of the city are of great importance. They include sugar refineries, flour mills, paper mills, manufactures of knit goods, leather, ships, railroad cars, dynamite and other explosives, aluminum astings, valves, etc. The first railroad cars used in the United States were built at Wilmington. The city has daily steamboat communication with Philadelphia and there is a motor transport service to Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore. There are 10 banks and trust companies with deposits of over $60,000,000. The bank clearings in 1919 amounted to $188,439,969. The great Du Pont powder works are located in the city. The harbor of the city has been greatly improved in recent years, and many docks and bulkheads have been built which give excellent facilities for unloading cargoes. The city has an excellent school system, and also several important educational institutions, including the State Industrial School for Girls, State Asylum for Insane, and other public institutions.

The first settlement was made by the Swedes in 1638. It was called Fort Christiana. This was captured by the Dutch in 1655, and called Fort Altena, and the town was named Christianaham. In 1731 the village of Willingtown, named thus in honor of Thomas Willing, was founded. The name was subsequently converted into Wilmington. The place received its city charter in 1832. The Old Swedes' church, erected in 1698, is still used. Pop. (1910) 87,411; (1920) 110,168.