Historic Preservation

Learn about the history of Rodney Square. Download A Guide to Rodney Square.

The Historic Preservation Program promotes the history of Wilmington and the preservation of its historic, architectural and archaeological heritage for the enjoyment of its citizens and visitors. Promotion and preservation take many forms, and include recording the details of neighborhoods and unique properties, connecting local resources into regional tourism and recognition networks, connecting students with the history of their neighborhood, helping homeowners with maintenance issues, and obtaining recognition for some of the City’s most significant sites. Our history makes Wilmington unique, and our extant historic buildings and spaces give us character.

The National Register of Historic Places

In 1966, the National Register of Historic Places was created which is a listing of districts, sites, structures and objects significant in American history and culture. The National Register plays an important role in restoring and maintaining the historic and cultural environment of the nation. Wilmington, with its rich history, is fortunate to be well represented on the Register with 16 districts and 47 individual properties listed on the National Register. Individual property owners, consultants or Planning staff may prepare nominations to the National Register. Nominations are reviewed by the Wilmington Design Review and Preservation Commission and the State Historic Review Board before being submitted to the National Park Service for consideration. Listing on the Register places no obligations on the property owner. Local governments may use the designation, however, to regulate projects, as may be required by federal funding or permitting requirements.

A sample of other activities of the historic preservation planning staff include:

  • Administration of the City Historic Districts
  • Historic Architectural Surveys
  • Federal Project Reviews: Projects funded by HUD, Federal Highways, EPA, etc. and federally permitted projects overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Communications Commission, EPA, FDIC, etc.
  • Promotion of Historic Preservation Tax Credits and other Incentive Programs: Federal and State Historic Preservation Tax Credits, Wilmington Tax Abatement for Historic Properties
  • Community Outreach
  • How-To brochures for property owners
  • Wilmington Preservation Roundtable: Open preservation discussion group meets through the year to discuss issues and tour historic sites.
  • Lectures/presentations to college classes, realtor’s groups, Urban Environmental Center Summer Camp, neighborhood associations, local conferences

Contact Planning

Mailing Address:
Department of Planning and Development
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 N. French Street, 7th Floor
Wilmington DE 19801

(302) 576-3100

(302) 571-4119

City Planning Commission:
(302) 576-3100

Design Review and Preservation Commission:
(302) 576-3113

Neigborhood Planning Councils:
(302) 576-3109