A community of free African Americans, known as Charley Town, was located here by the mid-19th century. Between 1845 and 1855 brothers Samuel and John Townsend purchased several large tracts of farmland in the vicinity. The Delaware Railroad arrived here in 1856, bisecting Samuel Townsend’s property. This led to a period of sustained growth for the town, as the railroad station became the principal shipping point for the area’s agricultural products. In September 1856 the Post Office was established, and the first hotel opened in 1857. Following a healthy debate among the residents, the station was named Townsend, after the area’s major landowner. The peach industry was a vital contributor to the area's growth and prosperity until disease destroyed many Delmarva orchards in the late 19th century. On April 3, 1885, Townsend was formally incorporated by the Delaware General Assembly. In 1986, the Townsend Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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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 Connor Graham at (302) 744-5019 or via email at

LOCATION: Main Street, Townsend.