A Local Survey

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The 1805 Latrobe-Mills Survey of the Town of New Castle. Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Robert Mills, two of America’s most prominent architects, surveyed New Castle as part of their plan to improve the grading, paving, curbing, and drainage of the town’s streets.

A Local Survey

In 1797, the town of New Castle decided to institute formal town planning to address growth, drainage, building regulations and construction, installation of fences and gutters, the paving of streets and sidewalks. A five person commission was set up to address these concerns. Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Robert Mills, prominent national architects, were asked to do a survey of the town. The survey was finished in 1805 and showed a town tripled in size and double the amount of waterfront available for wharves.

The town of New Castle was originally the capital of Delaware but was moved to Dover in 1777 since it was on the water and susceptible to attack by the British. In 1838, the railroad bypassed the town as had the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to the south. The planning did not bring the growth that the town desired.

The Latrobe/Mills Survey can be found in the Department of State collection. The collection includes documents generated by the Office of the Secretary of State and the divisions within the Department. The divisions include Corporations, Historical and Cultural Affairs, Motor Vehicles, The Department of Technology and Information with many divisions in-between.