The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has recently received notification from the National Park Service that two additional Delaware properties—the Adams Home Farm in Greenwood and the Evans-West House in Ocean View—have been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the United States government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation.
Located at 15293 Adams Road in Greenwood, the 211-acre Adams Home Farm possesses a unique concentration of agricultural resources which together symbolize the variety of farming practices associated with Northwest Fork Hundred and Sussex County from the 1850s to the 1950s. These cultural resources represent the evolution of agriculture from the planting of com and grain, to the production of vegetables and fruits, to truck farming, to the poultry industry and to the development of a feed and fertilizer business.
According to Ed Kee, Delaware’s current secretary of agriculture and an agricultural-history expert, the Adams Home Farm contains the best preserved collection of agricultural resources in the state including 13 buildings and structures that contribute to the historical significance of the property. Five of the structures have been in use since circa 1850 while several of the structures erected between 1900 and 1953 include rare 20th-century building types in Sussex County such as the clerestory-roofed chicken brooder-house, the one-story migrant-farm-workers’ housing and the metal water-tower with adjacent chemical shed.
Located at 40 West Ave. in Ocean View, the Evans-West House is a significant vernacular-interpretation of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Minimally altered since its construction in 1901, the house and associated barn, storage shed and star-shaped daffodil garden, represent an early-20th-century domestic complex which is not duplicated in Ocean View or the surrounding area.
The interior of the home retains a high percentage of its original historic fabric including room configurations as well as an ornate front door with etched-glass, genre-scene panel; kitchen wainscoting; an early porcelain-kitchen-sink; random-width floor boards throughout the house; original two-over-two double-hung windows; reeded door and window surrounds with bulls-eye corner blocks; original hardware including porcelain and electroplated doorknobs; and turned front-porch columns.
The current owners of the Evans-West House, strong advocates of historic preservation, have given legal ownership of the property to the Ocean View Historical Society which plans to restore the barn, maintain and preserve the house and grounds, and utilize the property as a museum and exhibit facility in conjunction with the society’s historical complex which includes the nearby Tunnell-West House.
During an end-of-the-year success event on Dec. 14, 2015, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs tipped its collective hat in recognition of the staff, volunteers, partners and friends who helped make 2015 a noteworthy year for the agency.
As part of the event program, division director Tim Slavin shined a spotlight on several individuals and teams who had made significant contributions to the agency over the course of the year. To begin with, Slavin discussed the fire that struck Delaware’s Legislative Hall on Oct. 7, 2015, and the extraordinary efforts of state employees from a variety of agencies who helped recover nearly 200 historical objects and works of art that were on display in the building.
State employees who contributed to the recovery effort include Justin King of the Division of Facilities Management who removed paintings from the building’s walls during the fire; Dave Russel and Kevin Wright of the Department of Technology and Information who assisted in setting up Internet and telephone access at the temporary storage facility that was used to house the recovered items; and Ronald Johnson of Facilities Management, who, along with several staff and volunteers from the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, assisted in the temporary relocation of objects from Legislative Hall.
Slavin and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Gwen Davis also presented Certificates of Appreciation in Preservation for community members who helped save two historic sites in the state. In the first case, Josie Roy of New Castle County government was honored for inspiring a host of local partners to take action to preserve New Castle’s Mount Salem United Methodist Church. New Castle County Executive Thomas Gordon and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Sam Guy spoke at the event in recognition of Roy.
In the second case, Frank Calio, Shawn Larrimore and Mayor John Shwed, all of Laurel, were honored for their efforts in developing a plan to preserve the 1921 Laurel High School building. The division’s National Register of Historic Places coordinator Madeline Dunn accepted the award on behalf of her fellow Laurel residents.
Slavin also took time to collectively recognize staff members who have joined the division during 2015 including Chris Conley, Betsy Gant, Patricia Gerken, Scott Hayes, Renee Huber, Carlos Maldonado, Gene Modzelewski, Paul Nasca, Charolenne Shehorn, Laurie Turkawski, Bridget Wallace and Nicole Worthley; while volunteer-service certificates, presented by Volunteer Services Coordinator Rachel Wootten, were awarded to Carolyn Apple for 233.25 volunteer hours, Kent Slavin (196 hours), Laura Herbin (106.75 hours), Juliann McNelia (104.25 hours), Jim Schilling (98.75 hours), David Perlmutter (57.25 hours) and Larry Watkins (35.5 hours).
In addition, Slavin presented staff service-awards to Beverly Laing for 25 years of service and Alice Guerrant for 35 years; congratulated CARE Team manager Edward McWilliams for earning the Management Development Certificate from the state of Delaware’s Office of Statewide Training and Organizational Development; commended the volunteers of the Johnson Victrola Museum who were recipients of a Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award; and bade farewell to departing staff members Amanda Goebel, Sally Shorey and Rachel Wootten.
Finally division staff honored their colleagues by presenting recognition awards to the following individuals and teams: Extra Mile Awards to Charity Luksha of the Preservation Maintenance Team, Thomas Pulmano of the Sites Management Team, Michael Cinque of the CARE Team and Volunteer Services Coordinator Rachel Wootten; Biggest Impact Awards to the division’s American Association of Museums accreditation team and the staff of the Zwaanendael Museum; and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Sally Shorey of the Buena Vista Conference Team. Shorey was not able to attend the ceremony.
In addition to recognition of the division’s staff, volunteers, partners and friends, the end of year event included a review of the agency’s accomplishments during 2015 including progress on obtaining accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. On Nov. 17 and 18, 2015, reviewers from the alliance visited Delaware, touring the division’s museums and collections facilities, and meeting with staff members. Overall, the reviewers were pleased with the division and its programs, noting the agency’s “great work, amazing staff and terrific collection.”
Before concluding the day’s activities, attendees took the Marshmallow Challenge, a team-building exercise that provided valuable lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity. In taking the challenge, participants were divided into several small groups and asked to build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow—which needed to be on top. The tallest tower, at 33.5 inches, was created by a team comprised of division planner Lynn Riley; and Zwaanendael Museum personnel including staff members Amanda Goebel and Gene Modzelewski, and volunteer Betsy Mahon.
In a recognition ceremony held at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover on Dec. 5, 2015, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock presented awards celebrating the work of 1,200 participants from 21 schools across the state who took part in the 2015 Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition. Over the past 14 years, more than 11,000 students have participated in the program.
Delaware Day commemorates the anniversary of Delaware becoming the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787. Six months later, on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document thereby providing the two-thirds majority of the states needed to establish the Constitution as the law of the land.
Sponsored annually by Delaware’s secretary of state, the Fourth Grade Competition encourages students to study the Constitution and to discover Delaware’s role in its writing and ratification. Students’ observations are presented in a four-panel display format that incorporates prose, artwork, songs and political cartoons. Each display is reviewed for factual accuracy, spelling and creativity.
Questions for this year’s competition required students to learn about the five individuals who represented Delaware at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia; and explore issues discussed by the delegates; review Article IV (how states are admitted to the Union), Article V (the amendment process), Article VII (the ratification process), the Bill of Rights (2015 is the 225th anniversary of Delaware’s ratification of the Bill of Rights on Jan. 28, 1790), and the petition process by which Delaware Day was established 82 years ago.
Each of the competition’s winning schools was recognized with a Signer’s Award named for one of Delaware’s five signatories of the U.S. Constitution. The Signer’s Awards for the 2015 competition are the George Read Award to the Gallaher Elementary School in Newark; the Gunning Bedford, Jr. Award to Bunker Hill Elementary School in Middletown; the Jacob Broom Award to the Learning Express Academy in Newark; the John Dickinson Award (tie) to Booker T. Washington and North Dover elementary schools, both in Dover; and the Richard Bassett Award to Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Seaford.
Honorable-mention awards were presented to Brader, Downes, Jones, Keene, Leasure, McVey, Mt. Pleasant, North Star, Oberle, Star Hill, Wilson and Sunnyside elementary schools; Calvary Christian Academy; and Christ the Teacher and Wilmington Friends schools.
Special Artistic Merit Awards, reviewed by the Delaware Division of the Arts with assistance from the Newark Arts Alliance, were also announced during the ceremony. Schools honored with this award were Bunker Hill, Frederick Douglass, Gallaher, North Dover and Star Hill elementary schools. Artistic Merit Honorable Mention awards were presented to Sunnyside Elementary and Wilmington Friends schools. As part of the Artistic Merit Awards process, financial assistance for up to $50 worth of art supplies was provided to participating schools through a Division of the Arts grant awarded to the Newark Arts Alliance.
The 2015 Delaware Day Student Competition was planned and organized by Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historian and National Register coordinator Madeline Dunn in consultation with representatives of Delaware’s departments of State and Education. Participation by other Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs staff-members included service as judges of the student-developed projects, development of awards certificates and printed materials, set-up of the awards-program location and staffing at the event.
Go to the following for photographs of displays created by participating schools.