Along this curve of the Brandywine, two brothers, Joshua and Thomas Gilpin, established the first paper mill in Delaware in 1787. Their high quality paper was handmade, one sheet at a time, from rags carted up from nearby Wilmington. In 1795, Thomas Gilpin built a mansion overlooking the mills and called it ‘Kentmere’ after their ancestral home in England. Thomas Gilpin revolutionized the paper industry by inventing and patenting a machine to make paper in an endless roll. Continuous paper manufacturing began on this site in August 1817. In May 1821, the famous Lavoisier’s Atlas was published on Gilpin paper. The Gilpins overcame a flood in 1822 and a massive fire in 1825 before selling the business in 1837. The mills were destroyed by flooding in 1839.

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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Katie Hall at (302) 744-5036 or via email at

LOCATION: 2 & 3 Mill Road, Wilmington.