The First State National Monument fulfills a vision set more than a century ago by William Poole Bancroft, who purchased the land just north of downtown Wilmington and less than an hour from Philadelphia, with the foresight of preserving an urban oasis in the Brandywine Creek corridor. The first national park site in Delaware, this monument encompasses a range of landscapes that commemorate the legacy and perseverance of early Dutch, Swedish, and English settlement, a vital aspect of the state's rich history.
The Brandywine River flows through New Castle County, Delaware, into the Delaware River and tells much of early America’s history along the way. From the Native American Lenape tribe that lived in the valley of the river to the Wyeth family of artists who still paint its beautiful landscapes, the Brandywine is truly one of the founding rivers of our nation. The largest battle of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of the Brandywine, was fought along its banks and the birth of industry was literally propelled by the river’s steady flow. Even the paper used to print the Declaration of Independence was made on the Brandywine River.
The Rockford Woodlawn property is positioned in the center of the Brandywine corridor and provides the perfect opportunity to interpret the many elements of the Brandywine story. The 1,100-acre property was purchased by William Bancroft at the turn of the century and has been carefully managed and preserved as open space since that time. Through its inclusion in the Delaware National Monument, the Woodlawn property helps create a continuous stretch of approximately ten miles of protected riverfront from the Delaware/Pennsylvania line to the City of Wilmington. Over five million people live within 25 miles of the Woodlawn property, making it readily accessible to the public and a conservation centerpiece for the state and region.
In addition to the Rockford Woodlawn property, the Delaware National Monument encompasses the Dover Green, Old Sherriff’s House in New Castle County, and New Castle Courthouse Museum. More than five million people live within 25 miles of the Woodlawn property, making it readily accessible to the public and a conservation centerpiece for the state and region.