The stately Rockford Tower is much more than just a landmark—it represents the history of Delaware’s industrialization and its dedication to the welfare of its people. The 75-foot stone tower, located in Rockford Park, is a water tower and a place for observation built as a result of the industrialization of the Wilmington area.

From The Quoin

By Car 13 minutes
By Walk 55 minutes
Get Directions
Get Directions


Address Lookout Dr, Wilmington, DE 19806, United States

+1 302-577-7020

The rise of industry in the 18th century caused an influx of workers in Wilmington, but their living conditions were dirty and overcrowded. Some began to believe that part of the solution was public parks, which would help boost the health and morale of the working class. The industrialist and philanthropist William Poole Bancroft was one of the driving forces in creating Rockford Park and other public green spaces in Delaware; he donated much of the land that is now Rockford Park, which was constructed in 1889. The du Pont family also donated part of the land necessary for the park. 

Designed by engineer Theodore A. Leisen, the original goal of Rockford Tower was to provide water for the influx of people. At the same time, Rockford Park commissioners were seeking to construct an observatory in the park, overlooking Brandywine Creek. The two goals coincided in the construction of Rockford Tower. The tower, built on top of Mt. Salem Hill, was completed in 1901. 

Rockford Tower, now over 100 years old, was built in the Italian Renaissance Revival and Gothic architecture styles, under explicit instructions from the park commissioners to make it blend with the park’s character. The stones that make up the tower came from the banks of the Brandywine River and old farm walls; they are the ‘Blue Rock’ type native to the Brandywine area. The tower contains a cylinder water tank, with stairs leading up to an observation deck.


Rockford Tower has undergone closings, renovations, and other changes since its construction. It closed during World War II, and was completely renovated in 1983 and 2001. The tower is open to the public on Sunday afternoons starting at 1:00pm. The tower is built on the highest point in Wilmington, making for unparalleled views of the city. 

The rest of Rockford Park is open daily from 8:00am to sunset. It is another of Delaware’s nationally recognized historic landmarks. The rest of the park is home to tennis courts, paved walkways, an off-leash dog park, and grassy meadows. There are also notable memorials on the property: Canby Seat, a granite bench dedicated to William M. Canby, the first President of the Board of Park Commissioners, a statue of war hero Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont, which was commissioned by Congress, and the Bancroft Memorial, dedicated to the man who made the park possible. 

Rockford Tower is one of Wilmington’s most recognizable landmarks, a stone testament to the history of the city’s workers. It reflects the industrial change that drove America to greatness, and it has served the city well over the past century. Be sure to make time for a climb to the top, to see Wilmington’s best vistas. 

Click for more things to do in Wilmington De