Quaker Hill's Neighborhood Association and Historic Preservation Foundation Present Community Awards During Their Annual Meeting

Posted on  06/23/2014 11:23 am

Those Honored Include Council Member Loretta Walsh, City Historic Preservation Planner Debra Martin and Property Management Firm PAG, Inc.

Wilmington’s Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association (QHNA) and the Quaker Hill Historic Preservation Foundation (QHHPF), which both work to preserve a history that includes figures from the Revolutionary War, a signer of the U.S. Constitution and a central player in the Underground Railroad Movement, will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday, June 25 at Friends Meeting House on West Street.

Each year, the QHNA and QHHPF annual meeting serves as a gathering place for residents to celebrate the community’s successes, plan its future and honor those that have been supportive of the Quaker Hill district, its people and its goals. "The history of Quaker Hill-- the history of Harriett Tubman, Thomas Garrett, and the thousands of men and women they helped through Wilmington to freedom -- is something that we are very proud of and is also our light to the future,” said Cassandra Marshall, President of the QHNA. “We're working hard to honor these ancestors by joining with our neighbors to build a community that is vibrant and safe."

At this year’s meeting, two individuals and one organization are being honored with awards named for Thomas Garrett. They include Wilmington City Council Member At-Large Loretta Walsh, City Historic Planner Debra Martin and PAG, Inc., a company with rental properties in the Quaker Hill community.

"Loretta Walsh richly deserves one of this year's Thomas Garrett awards,” said Marshall. “She has been a steadfast ally of Quaker Hill for more than 20 years. As a City Councilwoman at Large and as a Wilmingtonian who deeply cares about this city, Loretta is one of the few people we can always count on to help us solve problems and get the attention of the people who can help us. She's addressed some very challenging issues in Quaker Hill and we wouldn't have gotten to those solutions without her."

Loretta Walsh has served five terms on City Council as an At-Large Council Member (1985 to 1997 and again from 2004 to the present) representing the entire City. She was named President Pro-Tem of the current 106th session of City Council by President Theo Gregory. Loretta is chair of the Economic Development Committee and is a member of the Finance and Public Safety Committees.

Also being honored with a Thomas Garrett Award is Debra Martin, who has worked as a Historic Preservation Planner for 18 years with the City’s Department of Planning. Marshall said Debra is being honored for her years of interest in and service to preserving and promoting the Underground Railroad history of Quaker Hill, providing leadership for the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware and for the creation of Delaware’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway Program. These efforts, said Marshall, prominently feature the history of Quaker Hill. Debra is also being recognized for her unique understanding of the importance of preserving history while enabling a community to grow and prosper based on current neighborhood development trends and economic pressures.

The final honoree is Property Advisory Group (PAG, Inc.), a real estate management company based in Providence, Rhode Island. PAG currently manages properties in Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin in addition to Delaware. Marshall said because of the large number of rental properties in the Quaker Hill area, it’s important that the community maintain a healthy relationship with companies and individuals which control these properties. She said PAG is being recognized for an historic restoration project involving buildings on West Street. Marshall said these properties should serve as an example to landlords throughout the City because of the way they are maintained and kept clean. She said Quaker Hill also appreciates PAG’s overall concern for the welfare of the Quaker Hill neighborhood.

As detailed in an excerpt from an October, 2011 online news feature by Eileen Smith Dallabrida for WDDE, Delaware’s NPR News Station, Quaker Hill was established as an historic district by the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It is a small neighborhood of only 151 buildings on 250 acres bordered by Tatnall and Jefferson streets and from Second through Eighth streets. The district dates back to the early 18th century, when Elizabeth Shipley, a Quaker from Ridley Township in Pennsylvania, persuaded her husband William to build a home there. The first Meeting House was constructed in 1738. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington slept in quarters in Quaker Hill, as did Marquis de Lafayette. Among those buried in the graveyard at Wilmington Friends Meeting House on West Street are John Dickinson, signer of the U.S. Constitution, and Thomas Garrett, a Wilmington merchant and abolitionist who worked with Harriet Tubman and William Still to conduct slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.