Delaware may be one of the smallest states, but it has a big claim to fame as the first state to ratify the Constitution in 1787. Delaware’s capital, Dover, is a historic city that “grew as many such colonial communities did… around a nucleus of taverns and a courthouse.” Dover is located in Kent County, the county seat of Delaware. Luckily for us, many historic buildings in Dover still exist today and offer a glimpse into the making of the American experiment.
Sign outside of the original location of The Golden Fleece Tavern. Photograph by Kelly Goles.
One tavern, in particular, was especially important in the shaping of our nation: The Golden Fleece Tavern. Before the State House was built, the Legislative Council used the tavern as their meeting place. On December 3, 1787, 30 delegates met at the tavern to review the Constitution and unanimously decided on ratification. The Golden Fleece was demolished in around 1830, but a sign marks the original location, along with a placard describing the historic significance. The tavern originally sat on a corner of The Green, and from the original location, you can see the old statehouse and the original county courthouse.
The Old State House, located at 25 The Green, Dover, Delaware. Photograph by Kelly Goles.
The construction of what is now known as The Old State House began in 1787 and was completed in 1791. It also served as the Kent County courthouse until 1873. While the Old State House no longer serves as the seat for state government, the building has been restored and is now operated as a museum by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
Have you visited Dover, Delaware? Let us know in the comments.
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