The Dover History
Dover was founded in 1683 by William Penn, the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania. Initially it was meant to serve as a court town for the newly founded Kent County, part of the Lower Counties on the Delaware, also owned by William Penn. The city was laid out in 1717 and in 1777 the capital of Delaware was moved there from Newcastle, which had a less favorable position within the state and was more prone to British raids. At the time, the assembly convened at various places they saw fit, but in 1781 it was decided they would only meet in Dover from there on. Most of the political rallies, gatherings, military events and festivities were held at the central city square, known as The Green, which is still today the most important location in the city, located in the heart of Dover historic district. The city economy was based on trades such as tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, hatters, as well as on many inns and taverns. The U.S. Constitution was actually ratified by Delaware in the famous Green Fleece Tavern. Dover was also a marketing and distribution center for agricultural products from the nearby farms.
Dover is famous as the birthplace and home of one of the major wartime leaders during the American Revolution, Caesar Rodney. Rodney was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a congressman.
The city was one of the stops of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret passes and safe houses for black slaves in escape. However, the city was close to both abolitionists New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to slave-holding Maryland, so it was deeply divided between those who supported slavery and those who opposed it. There were not many slaves in Kent County at the time, but those who owned them saw to continue the practice.
The most significant growth and development of Dover came after the World War I. The Dover Air Force Base, one of the largest military freight terminals in the world, was constructed in 1941 near Dover, famous for holding the only military mortuary in the United States.
Geography and Climate of Dover
Dover occupies an area of 22.7 square miles, most of which is land. It is located on the St. Jones River. The climate in the city is humid subtropical. It has four distinct seasons, the winters are mild and the summers are long, hot and humid, with almost tropical conditions.
According to the 2010 survey, the population in Denver is 36,047, of which 54.9% are White, 37.2% are African American or Black, 4.13% are Hispanic or Latino, 3.16% are Asian, 0.45% are Native American and 0.04 are Pacific Islander. The per capita city income in 2010 was $19,445 and the median household income was $38,669.
Economy of Dover
The largest employer in Dover (and also in the entire Delaware) is the state government. Most of the state bureaucracy, state agencies and institutions, are located within the city or in the surrounding area. However, since it is not the largest city in the state, it is logical that some of the important institutions, for example the Office of the Attorney General, are located in Wilmington (which is the largest and the most populous city in Delaware). Kent County government is also a large employer in Dover. Other large employers include the Dover Air Force Base, Kraft Foods and Procter and Gamble. ILC Dover in Frederica is the largest producer of materials used for spacesuits.
Sports, Culture and Education
Dover International Speedway hosts NASCAR races twice a year, attracting a significant number of visitors, which contributes to the local economy through tourism.
Dover Symphony Orchestra and ballet performances are held at the Schwartz Center for the Arts (formerly the Dover Opera house). Another important cultural institution in the city is the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art.
Dover has three public high schools, the Dover Air Force Base Middle School, Delaware State University and Wesley College.
Transportation in Dover
The city does not have an interstate highway passing through it. The main north-south road route is the U.S. Route 13, while the U.S. Route 13 Alternate runs directly through downtown Dover. The main east-west road is Delaware Route 8.
The Dover Air Force Base is the largest airport in the area, however it is not used for civilian passenger traffic. The nearest passenger airport is New Castle Airport in New Castle. Residents of Dover also frequently use the Philadelphia International Airport and the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshal Airport.
As for the railroads, Dover is served by Norfolk Southern, running on former Pennsylvania Railroad. The city no longer has an Amtrak passenger train station and the nearest one is located in Wilmington. Local buses are operated by DART First State and Greyhound Buses provide intercity bus transportation.