October 22, 2018
By: Alexander Huey, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Delaware State Parks
First State Heritage Park in Dover is Delaware’s first urban park without boundaries. As “The First State,” Delaware is proud of its heritage, and First State Heritage Park links the many historical and cultural sites that not only tell the stories of Delaware’s past, but continue to write the story of Delaware’s future. Here are just a few of the sites you can visit during your time at First State Heritage Park.
Old State House Completed in 1791 on Dover’s historic Green, The State House served as Delaware’s first permanent capitol building. The building, home of Delaware’s General Assembly, remained in use until the completion of Legislative Hall in 1933 where the General Assembly continue to operate today. Open Monday-Saturday 9am to 430pm Sunday 130pm to 430pm. John Bell House The John Bell House offers a glimpse back to early colonial times in Delaware. As the oldest wooden framed structure in Dover, the John Bell house was standing in 1787 when statesmen ratified the Constitution at the Golden Fleece Tavern, located just across The Green.Serving as the interpretive center for First State Heritage Park, visitors can learn about the history of Dover and take thematic walking tours around Dover’s historic Green. Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walking tours leave hourly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Biggs Museum Discover ever-changing historical and contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year at the Biggs Museum of American Art. Thanks to the museum’s intimate galleries, guests can have a personal experience with collections, and leave with feeling delighted and inspired. Open: Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Legislative Hall Legislative Hall been home to Delaware’s General Assembly since 1933. As the capital building of the State of Delaware, this Georgian-style structure continues to carry on the proud tradition of constituent service. Tours available Monday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Johnson Victrola Museum Explore the Johnson Victrola Museum,a tribute thefounder of the Victor Talking Machine Company, Eldridge Reeves Johnson of Dover.Discover items that chronicle the early beginnings of the sound recording industry, learn about Mr. Johnson’s successful business enterprises, and view the Grammy awarded to Mr. Johnson posthumously in 1985. Open Wednesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and by appointment for groups
One of the best ways to experience First State Heritage Park is by attending a “First Saturday” event. On the First Saturday of each month, guests are welcomed to the park with a series of thematic programs and events. With a different theme each month, guests can discover programs at all First State Heritage Park sites. While the major park attractions are open throughout the week, a variety of special programs and events are developed at each site for the first Saturday of each month, some buildings, like Governor’s House at Woodburn and Courtroom# 1 at the Kent County Courthouse, are only open to the public on this day or by appointment.