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UD Special Collections > Exhibitions > Little Known Histories of Newark, 1758-2008

3940'45"N, 7545'29"W

Geographic location has always been a key factor in Newark's growth and development. The ore-bearing elevation now known as Iron Hill (125 ft.) drew early Native Americans to the vicinity; Lenni Lenape trails also bisected near Newark for north/south and east/west destinations.

Midway between the great Chesapeake Bay and the wide Delaware River, and in the heart of the White Clay Creek Watershed, early settlers harnessed water to power mills and other industries.

Eighteenth-century residents, wanting to support taverns and a growing need for transport through their small village, petitioned King George II of England for the right to hold a weekly market and a semi-annual fair on the site of present-day Washington House condominiums, next to the Academy Lawn on Main Street. King George II granted this charter in 1758, on April 13.

Geology of the Newark Area, Delaware / by Kenneth D. Woodruff, Allan M. Thompson, 1972. Scale 1:2400. Base maps USGS Topographic Series.
Roland E. Bounds collection.

Delaware from the best authorities (hand colored map). 1.5 inches equals 10 miles. [Philadelphia : Matthew Carey, 1795].
Delaware map collection.

City map with Newark business advertisements / Newark Chamber of Commerce. 1 inch equals approximately 2000 ft. Baltimore : Chesapeake Publishing Corp. [1958].

(Wall of Newark maps)

The area of Newark remained a small 1.56 square miles until the 1951 town charter increased its area to 5.41 square miles. The 1940s aerial views of Newark, shown in five segments here, reflect the sparsely populated center of town and outlying rural areas, with main roads following the traditional north/south route between Lancaster and Pencader, and the east/west route between New Castle and Nottingham.

The 2008 area of Newark is still only 9.3 square miles and fulltime population is slowly approaching 30,000.

Aerial views of New Castle County, 1940 (five segments) / Delaware State Highway Department.
Delaware map collection.

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