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

Residential Growth

Brothers Rathmell, William, Thomas, and Edward Wilson--of a successful nineteenth-century Philadelphia family--built Oaklands, their "country home" in rural Newark, where Rathmell served as a trustee and president of the board of Delaware College. Descendants of the family played social and benevolent roles in Newark, particularly in connection to the college.

The Oaklands mansion.
Wilson family papers.

Letters and envelope (1852 and undated), and family photographs of Martha Wilson, the Oaklands mansion and surrounding farm. Annie Wilson wrote to her sister, "Newark is as dull as ever," though she continued in the same letter to describe one evening social of "dancing 'til one in the morning after a "Pick Nick" in town."
Wilson family papers.
Gift of the estate of Elizabeth E. Wilson

Newark's early boundaries were often likened to the shape of a coffin, as depicted in a map from Baist's 1893 atlas. This detail shows key property holders, the centrality of Delaware College, and the segregation of the African American community north of town on New London Road, where the "Colored School" and a "Colored Church" are identified.

Detail of Newark, White Clay Creek Hundred, from Atlas of New Castle County, Delaware : from actual surveys, official records and private plans / compiled and published by George William Baist. Philadelphia : G. Wm. Baist, 1893.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the Newark Real Estate Company began to sell and develop lots along Depot Road (now South College Avenue), extending residential limits south toward the Pennsylvania Rail Road station. Subdivisions and property sales continued in the next three decades, along Manns Road, Orchard Road, through the Deer Park farm of James Martin (owner of the Deer Park Hotel, whose red brick home facing Park Place became a residence for the Improved Order of the Red Men), and along Kells Road on the opposite side of South College. These properties had once been farms and orchards, cushioning Newark proper from the train depot south of town.

(Mann's Farm Orchard)
Map of the town of Newark, Mann's Farm Orchard and
Pomona Gardens, 1934.
Wilbur T. Wilson map collection.

One share of capital stock in the Newark Real Estate Company, 1895.
James Hossinger papers.
Gift of James Thompson

Subdivision of a part of the property of Charles P. Wollaston, Newark, December 29, 1919.
Wilbur T. Wilson map collection.
Gift of the estate of Wilbur T. Wilson

Map of the town of Newark : Manns Farm and Orchard and Pomona Gardens [subdivision into building lots and small farms], 1934.
Wilbur T. Wilson map collection.
Gift of the estate of Wilbur T. Wilson

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