Executive - Press Release

Posted on: August 29, 2016

Historical marker cites former prison farm at park site

New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon on Monday hosted the dedication of a state historical marker at the county’s Delcastle Golf Course, recognizing the site’s past as the Delcastle Prison Farm.
Guests at the 1 p.m. ceremony at the site along McKennans Church Road included Jeff Seamans, whose great-grandfather supervised the prison farm’s dairy operation and, later, served as the farm’s superintendent.
“We credit George Williamson, who retired from the New Castle County Police, for compiling the history of the old prison farm, which he learned about while documenting the police force’s history for its 100th anniversary,” Gordon said. “He was fascinated by the history of the farm, which fed uncounted county residents, and his research led to the Delaware Public Archives’ historical marker that will share this history for generations to come.”
The farmland, originally owned by the Wells and Gregg families with buildings from the 1700s and 1800s, was acquired in 1915-16 by the New Castle County Workhouse at Greenbank, which set up its agricultural program to teach inmates skills to help them get jobs after their release.
At the height of its operation, with a dormitory built in the 1930s, more than 150 inmates worked the farm’s dairy, grew a variety of vegetables and raised livestock including cattle and pigs.
The farm, which sold its produce and meats to the public, closed in 1968 and the county established the Delcastle Recreation Center and Golf Course three years later. The regional park quickly became one of the most popular in the county’s park system.
The State Historical Marker Program is part of the Dover-based Delaware Public Archives.

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