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RG #6170


RG 9015-022-009: Woodside

The 1800s

In 1864, the Cowgill family was instrumental in convincing the Delaware Railroad to build a depot and station to serve the farms in the area south of Wyoming; it was named Willow Grove Station. The Cowgills also lobbied for a post office which initially took the name Fredonia. In 1869, the name of the growing village was changed by the General Assembly to Woodside.1 Fueled by the shipping of locally grown peaches and tomatoes by rail, the village saw its greatest period of growth in the early twentieth century. It was during this period that the village was incorporated.


1900 – 1949

In 1911, Woodside was incorporated in the corporate name of “The Commissioners of Woodside.” The boundaries of the Town were a parallelogram bounded on the east by Upper King Road and on the west following a line parallel with Cedar (now Tuxedo) Lane, and with north and south boundaries parallel to Main Street, 375’ to the north and 1,155’ to the south. The Town was to be governed by five Commissioners, who were elected to two-year, staggered terms. Electors were male residents, over 21 years of age, who had paid their local taxes. The Commissioners were to choose one of their members to serve as President and then appoint a Town Clerk, an Alderman, a Constable, an Assessor, a Treasurer, and a Collector who may be the same person as the Treasurer.  The Commissioners were to meet four times a year to pass ordinances for the good government of the Town, the lighting and improvement of the streets (assisted by an allotment of not less than $200 from the Kent County Levy Court), the paving and improvement of the sidewalks (the costs of which were paid by adjacent property owners), the planting and protection of ornamental trees, the repairs and making of public pumps, and all other actions for the general welfare of the Town. The Alderman and Constable were to keep the peace, suppressing all riotous, turbulent and noisy assemblages, and preventing gatherings that may obstruct the street. They were able to arrest and to fine those convicted of these offenses, or of disobeying ordinances. The Assessor was to assess the Town’s real and personal property with vacant lots exceeding one acre being exempt from taxation as was machinery in any factory. The amount of tax levied annually was not to exceed $300 including the real property tax and the poll or per capita tax of fifty cents on all males over 21 years of age.2

In 1927, the first amendment to the 1911 Incorporating Act extended the boundaries of the Town by 500’ to the east of the Upper King Road, and to the west to the Dickson (now Dundee) Road and on a line parallel to it until it met the extended southern boundary line of the Town.3 In 1947, voting was opened to female residing in the Town and the maximum amount of taxes which could be levied was increased to $500 with the per capita tax increased to $2 and levied on every citizen of the Town.4


1950 – Present Day

A 1953 law amended the 1911 Act by making changes to the hours of the election.5 In 1982, the Woodside was re-incorporated in the corporate name of “The Town of Woodside,” and a Charter established. No expansion of the Town’s boundaries had taken place since 1927. Governance of the Town was vested in a Town Council composed of a Mayor, a Treasurer, a Secretary, a Tax Collector, and three “non-officer” Council members, all of whom were to be elected at-large by qualified voters who consisted of anyone over 18, who had lived in the Town for thirty days, was not disenfranchised, and who had registered to vote. The Mayor was elected for a one-year term and presided at all Council meetings where he was a voting member. All other members of the Council were to serve two-year terms. Council meetings were to be held at least six times a year, in the odd-numbered months with a simple majority representing quorum. The Town retained those powers specified in its first Charter, but this Charter broadened the powers to include those generally awarded to municipalities while also enumerated additional specific powers. Among the enumerated powers were: to acquire and hold property, real or personal; to accept grants and loans to assist in acquiring, constructing, altering, or demolishing public property; to enter into contracts; to pass ordinances for good government; to construct, improve, extend or maintain water mains or fire hydrants in order to assist in the prevention of and combating of fires; to regulate and control pedestrian traffic; to prevent, suppress and regulate bonfires, the firing of firearms, and setting off of fireworks; to prevent or regulate the keeping of animals in the Town and to prohibit running-at-large of such animals; to require the removal of ice and snow from sidewalks and gutters; to prohibit gaming; to prevent vice, drunkenness, and immorality; to exercise all powers vested in the Town related to zoning and subdivision of lands; to define, abate, demolish, and remove dangerous buildings or other structures; and to regulate solicitors, peddlers, traveling salesmen, hucksters and hawkers. Except for publicly-held land, all real estate was to be assessed and taxed unless the Council determined that an exemption would best promote the public welfare. The maximum tax to be levied annually was capped at 2% of the total assessed value of taxable real estate. The Town Council could borrow money but, this must not exceed the amount that can be raised in taxation annually unless the debt will be paid by a grant from the state or the federal government. Any debt was to be repaid within four years with a quarter of the debt paid per year.6

The 1982 Charter has been amended just once, in 2018. The Town was now authorized to enlarge its existing limits and a procedure to accomplish this was outlined. There was also a change in the composition of the Town Council which now consists of a Mayor and four Council members. The Treasurer, the Secretary, and the Tax Collector are no longer elective members of the Council. The Mayor appoints a Secretary and a Treasurer from among the other members of the Council and also appoints a Tax Collector who may or may not be a member of the Council. Voting now follows the procedures for municipal elections found in 15 Del. C. §75. The amended language contains additional procedures specific to Woodside. Also amended was the enumerated powers to the Town which were expanded to include: granting business licenses and issue permits and to impose a tax on the transfer of real property. Several additional changes were included in the law.7


For the fully amended text of the current Charter, see

CITATIONS in Del. Laws

1 13 Del. Laws, c. 470 (1869) [p. 502]

2 26 Del. Laws, c. 229 (1911) [pp. 520-28]

3 35 Del. Laws, c. 142 (1927) [p. 465]

4 46 Del. Laws, c. 277 (1947) [p. 800]

5 49 Del. Laws, c. 255 (1953) [p. 479]

6 63 Del. Laws, c. 204 (1982) [pp. 452-62]

7 81 Del. Laws, c. 295 (2018) []

Delaware Laws from 1935 to present can be found online at


jnl / April 5, 2019 | April 23, 2019

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