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Named after Founding Father Caesar Rodney, Rodney Square is the heart of downtown Wilmington. This bustling historic district is home to important city buildings and beautiful revivalist architecture, making it one of Wilmington’s must-visit destinations. 

From The Quoin

By Car 7 minutes
By Walk 25 minutes
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Address 1000 N Market St, Wilmington, DE 19801, United States



Rodney Square was built in the early 20th century by John Jacob Raskob, a DuPont company financial executive. The DuPont company had a large part in the construction of the square and in the landscape around it; one of the first buildings surrounding the square was the DuPont headquarters in 1905. The square was inspired by the City Beautiful movement, a new urban planning philosophy encouraging improvement of public spaces, that gained prominence in the late 19th century. Rodney Square is unique in that it is the only area in Delaware that was created as a response to the City Beautiful movement. 

The land on which Rodney Square now sits was acquired by the city in the 1790s and initially served as a reservoir for drinking water. In 1877, it became defunct as a reservoir, and a county court house took its place from 1881 to 1919. After a nearby site was chosen for the DuPont headquarters, the DuPont company invested their energy into turning the area into a new civic gathering place. 

The square now acts as the center of the city of Wilmington, bringing the community together for a wide range of events. It is also surrounded by a combination of public and private buildings, many of which were designed in various revivalist styles, including Italian Renaissance, Classical, Beaux Arts, and more. The square itself is a lawn with landscaped borders, paved walkways, stone walls, and lanterns. The space is also home to two concrete fountains dedicated to William Poole, a Quaker industrialist. 


Rodney Square was also home to a grand equestrian statue of Caesar Rodney, created by American sculptor James E. Kelly. Rodney is remembered for riding 70 miles to Philadelphia in 1776 to cast a tie-breaking vote on the Declaration of Independence, and for serving as congressman and governor of Delaware. However, the bronze monument depicting him on horseback was removed in 2020 amid controversy over Rodney’s role as a slave owner. 

One of the most important buildings around Rodney Square is the Wilmington Public Building, originally intended to be an office for city and county officials and a new facade for the courthouse. The building, designed in the Classical Revival style with granite colonnades and entrance pavilions, now functions as a law firm. Another prominent building is the Wilmington Public Library, constructed in 1922. This beaux-arts building has received numerous awards for its architecture, and it is open to the public. Other notable buildings include the Wilmington Tower, a brutalist building designed by I.M. Pei, and the Main Post Office, a historic post office, courthouse, and restaurant. 

Rodney Square is a beautiful example of civic duty and revolutionary urban planning. This square, the heart of the city, is definitely worth a stroll, for its historic impact and its central purpose.

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