Old Swedes Church

Being the First State of the Union, Delaware history is about as good as it gets in the United States. Historical sites of interest can be found all over this small state, but perhaps no other city or town has as many as Wilmington. Its Delaware's largest city, and between it and the rest of the Brandywine Valley, there's plenty to keep you engaged. One of the more notable historic attractions in Wilmington is the Old Swedes Church. Still used for worship purposes on a regular basis, the Old Swedes church is the country's oldest that still stands as it was built. Now that's pretty impressive, you'd have to admit. Understandably so, the Old Swedes Church Delaware icon is found on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. If you want to familiarize yourself more with this star among attractions in Wilmington, you can track down a copy of the cinematic video, "The Story of Old Swedes Church". It provides excellent information about the church and about the Swedish settlement here. Or, you can simply drop in for a visit.

There are plenty of great tours in Wilmington that highlight the city's rich history, and at the Old Swedes church, guided tours are available Wednesday through Saturday. They start at 10 a.m. and end at around 4 p.m. Large groups are encouraged to make reservations in advance. If you are coming on a large bus tour, there is space available to park, so don't be afraid to get a large group together if you're planning a visit. Swedish immigrants were the first to settle in the region of Wilmington back in the 1600's, so this is where the name for the church comes from. The year of arrival for the Swedes was 1638, and within a short period thereafter, they had erected a fort and set aside land for a burial ground. The old burial ground would have featured wooden crosses or simple stones as grave markers, so little is known about the old burial ground's history. By the year 1655, the Dutch were moving in to claim the region, and the Swedes were thus denied the right to erect a Lutheran Church. The English would be next to come in and assume power after the Dutch, and by 1698, the Swedish immigrants finally were able to build a new church at the intended site.

The Old Swedes Church Delaware graveyard that you'll find here today has more than 15,000 people buried in it. Veterans from every American war rest in peace here, as do members from some of the most prominent families who have lived in Delaware over the last couple of centuries. Those looking for interesting tours in Wilmington might appreciate reading some of the tombstones found at the Old Swedes Church. Should you enter the church, you'll want to take notice of a few highlights. The King of Sweden gifted the church its altar candles in 1988, and one of the stained glass windows was created by Tiffany and Company. The church's pulpit is certainly one of its prized attributes, hailing as the oldest in the country.

Paintings of past Pastors can be found hanging on balcony railings, and the church chest dates all the way back to the year 1713. There's really quite a bit to see here, and taking a tour definitely helps to put it all in perspective. Large groups will have to pay a small fee. Otherwise, admission is free. The Old Swedes Church Delaware experience is surely one to add if you have the time, as the landmark structure is without question one of the top attractions in Wilmington. They do take donations, so you might give a little if you have it. It's quite a good feeling to support something so historic and treasured.

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