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Smyrna Town

Smyrna Town Hall is located at 27 South Market Street Plaza, Smyrna DE 19977; phone: 302-653-9231.

Beginnings [1]

Settlement in the area dates to before the American Revolution. The location at a crossing of two major roads, the King's Highway and the Maryland Road leading from the Delaware Bay to the Chesapeake, attracted grain merchants early in the 18th century. Grain shipments were made from the landing on Duck Creek to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Originally called Duck Creek Crossroads, the town's name was changed to Smyrna by the General Assembly in 1806. The two major banks were founded in 1812 and 1822 and the school district was established in 1829. A steamboat line to Philadelphia was started in 1837.

The Civil War divided feelings of people in the Smyrna area, but the period after the war was one of great growth and prosperity for the town. Well-to-do businessmen built grand Victorian houses from the profits made in trading grain, peaches and fertilizers. The Delaware Railroad, built in 1856, bypassed Smyrna to the west, due in large part to the reluctance of businessmen to encourage competition with the steamboat line. Hence, most of the manufacturing activities located in Clayton to the west, a pattern that has persisted until very recently. After the Civil War, the railroad line was extended to Smyrna and another railroad line extended eastward to the Delaware Bay.

In 1900, Smyrna had four manufacturers of phosphates, two foundries, two peach basket factories, three canneries, two carriage works, and a very modern electric plant, making it the best-lighted town south of Wilmington. In the 20th Century, growth was slow but steady. The greatest amount of growth occurred in the 1950's and 1960's, when the Town's population grew from 2,346 in 1950 to 4,243 in 1970. While the more recent growth rate slowed somewhat, growth in the town's population has been fairly steady overall. The Town's population in 2000 according to the U. S. census Bureau is 5,679. Because of its strategic location and the availability of public services, the Town is experiencing a surge of new growth.

  1. Town of Smyrna, Planning & Zoning Commission, 2002 Comprehensive Plan, stateplanning.delaware.gov, accessed May, 2012.
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