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Executive - Press Release

Posted on: September 12, 2023

County Executive Meyer marks 350th anniversary of New Castle County

NEW CASTLE – New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer today marked the 350th anniversary of New Castle County. The anniversary marks the creation of the boundaries of what is now New Castle County in 1673 as the land changed hands repeatedly between the Dutch, Swedish and English settlers who established various colonies in modern-day Delaware.


The video of his speech can be viewed here.

“On paper, today’s anniversary may seem a bit arbitrary. In 1673 the Lenape peoples had already lived on this land for thousands of years. The first European settlers, the Swedes, had already established a colony over thirty years prior, and the Dutch and English had joined them here. On paper, today may look like we’re celebrating arbitrary lines drawn on a map, lines originally meant to divide land and peoples from one another. But today, those lines that define the boundaries of our great county – The First County in The First State – also define our community and who we are together. 

Today, New Castle County stands as a land of "firsts," and the home of some of our nation’s greatest achievers. Dr. Henry Heimlich, the namesake of the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver, was born in Wilmington. Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar, called our great county home. Annie Jump Cannon, one of the most prolific astronomers in human history, is the namesake of Cannon Hall at the University of Delaware. Countless artists, actors and athletes, among them WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, Major League Baseball MVP Paul Goldschmidt, actors Aubrey Plaza and Ryan Phillippe – who was born here in New Castle – trace their roots back to our community.

And of course, we count among our own the 46th President of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.

Today is not just about the past, it’s about what the next 350 years hold for our community, and how we can continue to build a county that is accepting, inclusive and that is led by people who look like and share the lived experiences of the community they serve. And it’s why the policies we pursue and implement now must benefit everyone, not just those who with the loudest voices.

That’s why we named the first African-American police chief, Col. Vaughn Bond, and the first African-American Chief Administrative Officer, Vanessa Phillips, in New Castle County's history. 

That’s why we've created new parks, libraries, and a paramedic station in underserved areas like Middletown, providing essential services and amenities that improve the quality of life for all residents.

That’s why we this year we reduced property taxes for all homeowners in New Castle County, for the first time in over half a century. This bold step not only eases the financial burden on our residents but also demonstrates our commitment to making our county an affordable place to live and thrive.

And that’s why, when the pandemic struck and COVID-19 upended our economy and forced people from their homes, we purchased a one-time Sheraton hotel and transformed it into the state’s largest emergency and transitional housing center. One that’s seen hundreds of families pass through on their way to stable and safe permanent housing solutions.

As we commemorate our 350th anniversary, let us remember that our history is not confined to the past. It is being written every day, by each one of us and by the remarkable achievements we celebrate here. We are not a series of lines defined by a creek, a river, a couple of circles centered where we stand, a wedge and a long dispute over which state really got to claim Philadelphia. We are a County of innovators, artists, thinkers, leaders, and discovers and our journey is far from over.  

As your County Executive, I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am excited about what lies ahead. Let us continue to be 'first' in areas that truly matter - in the health of our residents, the education of our children, and in building a prosperous and inclusive future for all.”



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