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Dover, Delaware
City of Dover
City
West Loockerman Street in downtown Dover in 2006
West Loockerman Street in downtown Dover in 2006
Flag of Dover, Delaware
Flag
Etymology: Dover, Kent in England
Nickname(s): Capital of the First State
Location in Kent County and the state of Delaware.
Location in Kent County and the state of Delaware.
Country  United States
State  Delaware
County Kent
Founded 1683
Incorporated 1717
Area
 • City 22.7 sq mi (59 km2)
 • Land 22.4 sq mi (58 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (1 km2)
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2013)
 • City 37,366
 • Density 1,646/sq mi (635.6/km2)
 • Metro 152,255
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP codes 19901–19906
Area code(s) 302
GNIS feature ID 217882
Website www.cityofdover.com

Dover (/ˈdvər/) is the capital and second-largest city in the U.S. state of Delaware. It is also the county seat of Kent County, and the principal city of the Dover, DE Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Kent County and is part of the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area. It is located on the St. Jones River in the Delaware River coastal plain. It was named by William Penn for Dover in Kent, England. As of 2010, the city had a population of 36,047.

History

Dover was founded as the court town for newly established Kent County in 1683 by William Penn, the proprietor of the territory generally known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware." Later, in 1717, the city was officially laid out by a special commission of the Delaware General Assembly. The capital of the state of Delaware was moved here from New Castle in 1777 because of its central location and relative safety from British raiders on the Delaware River. Because of an act passed in October 1779, the assembly elected to meet at any place in the state they saw fit, meeting successively in Wilmington, Lewes, Dover, New Castle, and Lewes again, until it finally settled down permanently in Dover in October 1781. The city's central square, known as The Green, was the location of many rallies, troop reviews, and other patriotic events. To this day, The Green remains the heart of Dover's historic district and is the location of the Delaware Supreme Court and the Kent County Courthouse.

Dover was most famously the home of Caesar Rodney, the popular wartime leader of Delaware during the American Revolution. He is known to have been buried outside Dover, but the precise location of his grave is unknown. A cenotaph in his honor is erected in the cemetery of the Christ Episcopal Church near The Green in Dover.

Dover and Kent County were deeply divided over the issue of slavery, and the city was a "stop" on the Underground Railroad because of its proximity to slave-holding Maryland and free Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It was also home to a large Quaker community that encouraged a sustained emancipation effort in the early 19th century. There were very few slaves in the area, but the institution was supported, if not practiced, by a small majority, who saw to its continuation.

The Bradford-Loockerman House, Building 1301, Dover Air Force Base, John Bullen House, Carey Farm Site, Christ Church, Delaware State Museum Buildings, John Dickinson House, Dover Green Historic District, Eden Hill, Delaware Governor's Mansion, Greenwold, Hughes-Willis Site, Loockerman Hall, Macomb Farm, Mifflin-Marim Agricultural Complex, Old Statehouse, Palmer Home, Town Point, Tyn Head Court, and Victorian Dover Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dover Delaware from space
Astronaut photography of Dover, Delaware taken from the International Space Station (ISS)

Geography

Dover is located at (39.1581680, −75.5243682).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.7 square miles (59 km2), of which 22.4 square miles (58 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.32%, is water.

Dover has a warm temperate climate or humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). Summers are hot and humid, with 23 days per year reaching or surpassing 90 °F (32 °C). Brief, but heavy summer thunderstorms are common. Winters are moderated by the Delaware Bay and the partial shielding of the Appalachians, though there are normally 8−9 days when the daily high remains below freezing and 15 nights with lows below 20 °F (−7 °C). Snow is typically light and sporadic, averaging only 15.7 inches (40 cm) per season, and does not usually remain on the ground for long. Spring and autumn provide transitions of reasonable length and are similar, though spring is more wet. The monthly mean temperature ranges from 35.2 °F (1.8 °C) in January to 77.7 °F (25.4 °C) in July. The annual total precipitation of around 46 inches (1,170 mm) is spread rather evenly year-round. Dover averages 2300 hours of sunshine annually.

Climate data for Dover, Delaware (1981−2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
(25)
80
(26.7)
88
(31.1)
97
(36.1)
98
(36.7)
101
(38.3)
104
(40)
102
(38.9)
99
(37.2)
95
(35)
85
(29.4)
75
(23.9)
104
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 43.4
(6.33)
47.0
(8.33)
54.9
(12.72)
65.7
(18.72)
74.7
(23.72)
83.2
(28.44)
87.0
(30.56)
85.2
(29.56)
79.3
(26.28)
68.8
(20.44)
58.5
(14.72)
47.4
(8.56)
66.3
(19.06)
Daily mean °F (°C) 35.2
(1.78)
38.0
(3.33)
45.2
(7.33)
55.0
(12.78)
64.2
(17.89)
73.3
(22.94)
77.7
(25.39)
76.1
(24.5)
69.7
(20.94)
58.7
(14.83)
49.2
(9.56)
39.2
(4)
56.8
(13.78)
Average low °F (°C) 27.1
(-2.72)
29.0
(-1.67)
35.6
(2)
44.3
(6.83)
53.8
(12.11)
63.4
(17.44)
68.4
(20.22)
67.0
(19.44)
60.1
(15.61)
48.7
(9.28)
39.8
(4.33)
31.0
(-0.56)
47.4
(8.56)
Record low °F (°C) −7
(-21.7)
−11
(-23.9)
7
(-13.9)
14
(-10)
28
(-2.2)
41
(5)
45
(7.2)
35
(1.7)
30
(-1.1)
25
(-3.9)
11
(-11.7)
−3
(-19.4)
-11
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.41
(86.6)
3.07
(78)
4.31
(109.5)
3.88
(98.6)
4.25
(108)
4.00
(101.6)
4.09
(103.9)
4.36
(110.7)
4.13
(104.9)
3.42
(86.9)
3.48
(88.4)
3.65
(92.7)
46.05
(1,169.7)
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.6
(11.7)
7.7
(19.6)
0.3
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.2
(0.5)
2.9
(7.4)
15.7
(39.9)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.1 9.6 10.0 11.3 10.9 9.1 9.3 8.6 8.3 8.0 7.9 10.3 113.4
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.2 1.9 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.9 5.3
Source: NOAA

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 1,906
1880 2,811 47.5%
1890 3,061 8.9%
1900 3,329 8.8%
1910 3,720 11.7%
1920 4,042 8.7%
1930 4,800 18.8%
1940 5,517 14.9%
1950 6,223 12.8%
1960 7,250 16.5%
1970 17,488 141.2%
1980 23,507 34.4%
1990 27,630 17.5%
2000 32,135 16.3%
2010 36,047 12.2%
Est. 2015 37,522 16.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

In 2010, Dover had a population of 36,047 people. The racial makeup of the city was 48.3% White, 42.2% African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. 6.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census of 2000, there were 32,135 people, 12,340 households, and 7,502 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,435.0 people per square mile (554.1/km²). There were 13,195 housing units at an average density of 589.2 per square mile (227.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 54.94% White, 37.22% African American, 0.45% Native American, 3.16% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. 4.13% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,340 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.4% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city of Dover the age distribution of the population shows 23.5% under the age of 18, 15.7% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,669, and the median income for a family was $48,338. Males had a median income of $34,824 versus $26,061 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,445. About 11.5% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.6% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

NS5333 DoverDE
A Norfolk Southern GP38-2 parked on the team track in Dover with the old railroad depot in background.

The main north–south highway through Dover is U.S. Route 13, which runs through the main commercial strip of Dover on the multi-lane, divided Dupont Highway. An alternate route of U.S. Route 13, U.S. Route 13 Alternate, passes through downtown Dover on Governors Avenue. The Delaware Route 1 turnpike, which provides the main route to Wilmington and the Delaware beaches, passes to the east of Dover. It ends near the Dover Air Force Base and DE 1 continues south on Bay Road. U.S. Route 113 formerly ran along Bay Road from Milford to US 13 near the State Capitol Complex, however it was decommissioned in 2004 to avoid the concurrency with DE 1 between the Dover Air Force Base and Milford. Delaware Route 8 is the main east–west route through Dover, passing through downtown on Division Street and West Dover on Forrest Avenue. It continues west toward Maryland to provide access to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Dover is one of only four state capitals not served by an Interstate highway. Pierre, South Dakota; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Juneau, Alaska are the other three state capitals with this distinction.

Dover Air Force Base is located within the southeast corporate limits of Dover. Airports near Dover with commercial air service include the Wicomico Regional Airport in Salisbury, Maryland, the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia. Other airports near Dover include Chandelle Estates Airport to the northeast of the city, Delaware Airpark near Cheswold, and Jenkins Airport near Wyoming.

Dover is located on a former Pennsylvania Railroad line, which is now served by the Delmarva Central Railroad, having taken over operations from Norfolk Southern in 2016. At one time Dover had a daily Amtrak passenger service; however, the line now is just used for local freight. The closest passenger rail station is the Amtrak station in Wilmington.

DART First State provides local bus service throughout Dover and Kent County, radiating from the Dover Transit Center in downtown. They also provide inter-county service to Wilmington on the Route 301, Newark on the Route 302, and Georgetown on the Route 303 and seasonal service to Rehoboth Beach on the Route 305.

Greyhound Lines are provided as inter-city bus transportation, with a bus stop at the 7-Eleven store along U.S. Route 13 in the northern part of Dover.

Culture

The former Dover Opera House, built in 1904, was renovated and converted to the Schwartz Center for the Arts, which hosts performances by the Dover Symphony Orchestra, ballet, and classic films.

Dover is also home to The Children's Theatre, Inc. of Dover and Kent County, a non-profit organization.

The Delaware State Library, the Delaware State Museum, and the Delaware State Archives are in downtown Dover and are open to the public for research and browsing.

In Dover's historical district is the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art, featuring collections from the Colonial days to the present.

An Amish community resides to the west of Dover, with several Amish businesses.

Images for kids


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