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New Construction Delaware Specialist Bill Sladek
Bill Sladek, Realtor®
Home Finders Real Estate

E-mail Bill Sladek
Mobile: 302-494-8100
FAX: 302-655-8031
Location: Wilmington, DE

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Delaware Living, Facts, And History

Living in Delaware

Ask the average Delawarean what he thinks about living in the First State and he'll answer you with a smile. That's because the general feeling is one of contentment. People truly enjoy living here. Delaware and its environs offer the best of urban, suburban and rural life within a surprisingly compact area.

Delaware is a land rich in resources both man-made and natural. To natives and newcomers alike, the tiny state of Delaware is quickly establishing a national reputation as a Small Wonder. In terms of size, Delaware has the distinction of being the 2nd smallest state in the Union, and, in terms of historical significance, it was the First State to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America.

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For the uninitiated, Delaware is a pleasant surprise awaiting discovery. Referring to the state's great value relative to its diminutive size, Thomas Jefferson dubbed Delaware, The Diamond State. Today, Delaware is ideally positioned in one of the nation's most geographically desirable locations. With Philadelphia and New York City to the north and Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to the south, Delaware is within about two hours of literally thousands of exciting things to do. Yet as an area brimming with museums, entertainment, nature's beauty, tax-free shopping and more, it's often just as much fun to stay near home.

The state's variable climate, too, adds to its inestimable charm. The Delaware Valley enjoys the contrasts of four distinct seasons, none too extreme. Ranging from pink-blossomed springs to sun-soaked summers, from amber-hued autumns to (occasionally) white-blanketed winters, Delaware's outdoors are a continuous display of nature's finery. Summer and winter temperatures average a moderate 76°F and 32°F respectively, with an average annual rainfall of 45 inches. Perhaps most significant of the state's variety of geographic features are Delaware's beaches, considered by many as, the place to be, from Memorial Day through the Indian summer days of September and October. For contrast, the nearby Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania draw many Delawareans for skiing and other cold weather activities.

Delaware History

An English Captain sailing into Delaware Bay named the state in honor of Lord de La Warr, the Provincial Governor of Virginia. Twenty-one years later, the first European settlement, Zwaanendael, was established on Delaware soil by a group of Dutch fishermen near what is now the resort town of Lewes. Tragically, the entire population of the colony was wiped out in a dispute with the region's Lenni Lenape Indians.

In 1637 a second group of Swedes and Finns established the colony which eventually took hold. Today, Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, erected in 1698, is the oldest Protestant church in the U.S. still in use. In due time, Delaware also became home to the British and Dutch.

On December 7, 1787, after the colonists wrestled the continent from Britain, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States. The proud heritage of Delaware remains to this day, as is evidenced by the number of public parks, schools, museums, monuments and roadways bearing the names of historically significant figures Caesar Rodney, Commodore McDonough, Gunning Bedford, and Thomas McKean, among others.

First State Fast Facts

Fewer than a hundred miles long from north to south and only thirteen to thirty-five miles wide, Delaware is the 49th largest state in the Union. Only Rhode Island has fewer than the 1,982 square miles of land area that Delawareans call home. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and by Maryland to the south and west. According to recent statistics, the state's population is over 730,000 strong.

Delaware is made up of three counties New Castle to the north, Kent in the center and Sussex to the south which is stacked like blocks. The state's largest city, Wilmington, is situated in New Castle County, while Dover, the capital, is located in Kent County. Neighboring counties, however including Cecil County in Maryland and the southern portions of Chester and Delaware Counties in Pennsylvania are often considered part of greater Delaware, or Metro Wilmington.

The combination of characteristics of all three Delaware counties and their surrounding areas are unique and varied enough to appeal to virtually any lifestyle.

Although Delaware was once known as the Chemical Capital of the World, its present economy is built on a healthy mixture of agriculture, finance, insurance, tourism and, of course, the chemical industry. Additionally, due to favorable corporate tax laws, more than 203,000 companies are incorporated in the First State, including over half of the Fortune 500.

From an individual perspective, Delaware has a per capita income of over $21,500 (ranking thirteenth in the country), one of the lowest costs of living on the East Coast and a lower than average property tax. Add Delaware's commitment to tax-free shopping as a way to promote consumer spending and it's easy to understand Delaware's sustained prosperity and fiscal health.