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    New Castle CourthouseNew Castle Courthouse New Castle, Delaware
    The New Castle County courthouse is now the New Castle Courthouse Museum that is one of the oldest courthouses in the nation and sits in the center of a 12 mile radius that defines areas of the Delaware and Pennsylvania state borders and made a National Historic Landmark in 1972. This old courthouse was built in stages, during three hundred years of colonial and federal government, and before the revolution, it would be the meeting house for the governments of three counties that made up the state of Delaware. During the period from 1776 to 1777, it would become the state house of Delaware and then it would become the county courthouse for three hundred years, and even today, a court is held to keep their claim alive that it is one of the oldest continuously used chamber of justice in these United States. The 1732 courthouse was constructed on top of the original 1660s courthouse, along with the numerous additions and remodeling that was done through the 18th and 19th centuries, with all jurisdictions, including federal, meeting in this court, until 1881 when the state courts would be removed to Wilmington, when the county seat changed, although they continued to use the courthouse occasionally. The courthouse would become the first capital building of the state and the meeting place for the colonial and first state assembly; passing a resolution in 1776 to separate itself from Pennsylvania and Great Britain, thus creating the state of Delaware. Within two months, the first constitution of the new Delaware state was adopted and the next year, the capital would be moved to Dover. There were a few important events that would take place here that involved slavery and the Underground Railroad, and included the trials of abolitionists Thomas Garrett and John Hunn. In 2003, it would be designated a National Historic Underground Railroad Site.

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    Old Dutch HouseOld Dutch House New Castle, Delaware
    This Dutch house was constructed during the late 17th century and is one of the oldest houses in the state today. The original house is beneath the Federal period skin that was added during renovations that changed the looks of the house to what it is today. Its mystique and history has kept people and visitors intrigued for more than three centuries and has always been called the Dutch house. The earliest records state that a log house was first built here in the 1680s that was simply a one story one room cabin that measured 24 feet by 17 feet and an 8 foot open hearth with four foot deep chimney. In 1720, a remodeling was done that added the lean-to and divided the big hall into two divided spaces, with the north room being used as a working hall that took up two thirds of the space and a direct entry through the central door, with a tight winder stairway leading up to the next half floor by the stairs hidden behind the chimney. The room on the south side was used as a kitchen area, that was unheated and might have been used for a bedroom as well. In the mid-18th century, the house would be raised off the ground and a cellar excavated, as well as siding the house with bricks on three sides. The house would be bought by the Delaware Society for the Preservation of Antiquities and further renovations done. Sometime later, it would be reopened as a historic house museum, with a Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield gathering the period furnishings and furniture to bring the old house up to its original condition, using only the proper type and period furniture. In 1946, it would be deeded to the New Castle Historical Society.

April 15, 2011