Press Releases

DE's Congressional Delegation Introduces the First State National Historical Park Act of 2013

WASHINGTON – Today, Delaware's Congressional Delegation, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.), introduced legislation to authorize the creation of a national park in Delaware – the First State National Historical Park Act of 2013.

The First State National Historical Park Act of 2013, like previous national park legislation introduced by Sen. Carper, would create a park celebrating early American Dutch, Swedish and English Settlements located throughout Delaware, as well as Delaware's role in the events leading up to  the founding of our nation. The legislation also allows the Park Service to work with other historically significant sites that are not included in the National Park, but can be included in the National Park materials, tours and other related items. 

"The First State may be small, but it has had a tremendous role in the history of our country," said Sen. Carper. "For over a decade, I have been working with federal officials, state officials, community leaders and activists in the hopes that one day we could tell Delaware's unique story through a national park. The legislation introduced today celebrates Delaware's rich history and brings us one step closer to making our national park a reality. This national park would tell the story of our state's early settlements and its role in helping to launch the most enduring experiment in democracy the world has ever known – the United States of America."

"Delaware played a vital role in the founding of our great nation and it's important that we honor the state's historical achievements with a national park that educates Delawareans and visitors alike," Senator Coons said. "I am proud to join Senator Carper as a cosponsor of his bill and applaud Representative Carney for moving this effort forward in the House." 

"As the first state to ratify the Constitution, Delaware should not be the last to have a national park," said Congressman Carney. "Delaware's national park will tell the story of our state's prominent role in the founding of the United States of America. We made significant progress on this legislation last Congress, and I'm hopeful that we can finish the job in the next two years." 

In the past two Congresses, the Delaware Congressional delegation led by Sen. Carper has introduced legislation to establish the First State National Historical Park. Every year, there has been progress on the legislative front.  Last Congress, the Senate version of the First State National Historical Park Act, S.323, passed out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a voice vote.  The House version, HR 624, received a legislative hearing. The only major change in this year's bill will be the inclusion of the Woodlawn Trustees property, which spans the Delaware-Pennsylvania border. 

Sites authorized for the park include:

  • Woodlawn Trustees Property
  • The Old Sheriff's House
  • Old New Castle Courthouse
  • New Castle Green
  • Old Swedes Church National Historic Landmark
  • Fort Christina National Historic Landmark
  • Dover Green
  • John Dickinson Plantation National Historic Landmark
  • Ryves Holt House
Updated information on Sen. Carper's national park legislation can be found by going to http://www.carper.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/delaware-national-park