Dover, Delaware, home the only capitol city with an all-volunteer fire department, the best blueberry danish this side of the Atlantic, and my friends the Pattersons!
Day 2 in Dover started with a fabulous blueberry danish from Frankfurt bakery! This was quite possibly the best danish I’ve ever had. I’m salivating just thinking about it! But let’s get down to business. There’s more to know about Delaware!
So, several people told me I needed to go to Legislative Hall, which is their current capitol building. I have to say the tour was actually quite interesting! I’m not the most interested person when it comes to politics, but Delaware is actually pretty cool. It’s a tiny state, of course, so that means people actually know their congressmen. I got to go into the House and Senate rooms, and most of the desks boasted personal notes and pictures from kids and the voting public. To be eligible for the election, all candidates have to live in Delaware for at least three years, live in the county they’re hoping to represent for at least one year, and be over 27 years old. So if anyone’s contemplating getting into politics, those are your minimum requirements for Delaware.
Interesting random fact: At the time of the Revolution, there were approximately 50 families living in Dover, DE. Another interesting and random fact: The state bird of Delaware is the Blue Hen. It is known for its ferocity and fighting success! In the Colonial era, cockfights were a major form of amusement. Apparently the Delawarean soldiers fought with similar ferocity!
The building itself is very ornate and pretty. It’s Georgian revival style,which just means it’s symmetrical any way you slice it. Lots of Colonial-era buildings were Georgian style (named, of course, for King George of England), so when they built this place in the 1930s, they wanted to show remembrance for that. All the walls and things inside are “Colonial Blue” and “Buff” (off-white), which are the official colors of Delaware. My tour guide noted that almost all the DE schools’ colors are some variant of blue and off-white or yellow as well.
In both the Senate and House of Representatives rooms there are these huge paintings of important people and events in Delaware history. I found that to be the most interesting part of the tour! There was one depicting the treacherousness of the Delaware Bay and the “Delaware Pilots” (sailors) who risked their lives each time they sailed in or out of it. Another painting showed Caesar Rodney’s ride to Philly–the ultimate Dover Hero. Of course one of the paintings portrayed the signing of the Constitution at the Golden Fleece Tavern, one of the most important days in US history, not to mention DE history!
The painting I found most interesting and wish I knew more about was the one depicting Zwaanendael Colony. It was a short-lived Dutch colony founded in present-day Lewes, DE, in 1631. No one knows much about the colony, except that it existed–I’m researching this. =) Also prominent in the Legislative Hall decor is the presence of agricultural influence. Delaware is apparently a big agricultural state even to this day, which I didn’t realize! My guide talked about how the Swedes settled much of Delaware, and the fact that New Castle used to be the capitol, but it moved to Dover in 1777 because it was further out and a bit safer for their capitol city.
Moving along, the most interesting display to me was just a small one in the hallway dedicated to two recently discovered shipwrecks, one from the 1770s and the other from the 1860s. Remember, the Delaware Bay is very treacherous. Ships used to run aground, and if there was a nor’easter, ships were certainly in great danger! These two ships in particular were cargo ships, and the fine china and other things that the ships were carrying show what an important part Delaware played in US commerce–remember, the Delaware Bay was also an important passage way into Philadelphia! The artifacts were pretty well-preserved, considering their 150-230+ years under the sea. One of the plates had a barnacle growing off of it that was at least three feet long. =)
After a rousing day in historic Dover, the Pattersons and I decided we needed to go explore the outskirts. Off we went to Middletown! Sean and Jenna had told me about this cute little town just 30 minutes north with pretty homes and buildings and a fabulous hot dog place. I’m game. =) Dog Town Hot Dogs, I have to say, is awesome! They have a few things besides hot dogs, but their hot dog choices definitely outshine the rest! I got the Hawaiian, which included pineapple. Yes, it was amazing. =) Definitely worth a trip! And then we went to Rita’s Italian Ice. YUM! And then we came home and watched the Lion King. Yes, it was a winning day!
Next up for day three in Dover… The Johnson Victrola Museum! Don’t know what a Victrola is? Thought it was Johnson’s last name? Stay tuned for what’s up next!