Delaware City's story begins in 1801 when the Newbold brothers, Barzilla, Clayton, and John, of New Jersey, acquired 1600 acres of land on the Delaware River, John Newbold built a wharf that became a center for trading and shipping grain, giving the site the name of Newbold's Landing.
In 1824, the news (left) that a canal connecting the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay would have its eastern terminus just south of Newbold's Landing prompted John Newbold's sons., Daniel and William, to lay out a new town they named Delaware City. In 1826 they sold the first lots and by 1827 the town had ten houses and a population sufficient to justify a July 4th celebration that included a festive outdoor dinner at a table that filled Delaware Street between Clinton and Washington' streets.
Delaware City was both a base for canal operations—-conducting vessels through the locks and collecting tolls—-and a way station for travelers needing hotels, stables, food and other services. The economic boom associated with shipping goods across the peninsula on the canal waned with competition from railroads. After 1927, when the Delaware River entrance to the canal shifted to Reedy Point, any remaining economic benefits to the city from the canal disappeared. Although Delaware City's growth did not live up to its founders' financial expectations,
the town grew into a community of charming tree-lined streets and inviting neighborhoods.