This area began as forest and swamp bridging the Divide between the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. European Contact made it a province of fur traders and hunters. In the 18th century, farming and timbering pushed back the swamp. With the 1780 Black Camp Insurrection during the American Revolution, the “Nanticoke Swamp” became a refuge for Loyalists. In the Federal era, the Old State Road was built to connect Georgetown with Dover. Railroads came after the Civil War. With emancipation, African Americans took up free lives in the area. The community was first surveyed in 1867, and it soon absorbed the older villages of Federalsburg and New Market. Agricultural and forest products were shipped over the rails. Churches and schools were founded. The Town was incorporated in 1905. Canning and refrigeration strengthened commerce. The DuPont Highway was completed in 1918, and the Ellendale State Forest was established in 1927. The Volunteer Fire Department was organized in April 1920, the Police Department in the 1970’s. Main Street became a highway to the beaches and today the community’s location continues to make it a thoroughfare for commerce and beacon for growth.

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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: Southwest corner of Main Street and McCauley Avenue at the entrance to Town Park by the pagoda, Ellendale..