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Townsend Town

New Castle County, Delaware

Townsend Town Hall is located at 141 Main Street, Townsend, DE 19734.
Phone: 302‑378‑8082.


Townsend [‡] is located in the southwestern portion of New Castle County, in what has traditionally been called the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend (M-O-T) planning region. Figure 1 shows the location of the town relative to several other towns in New Castle County. The town is located about 34 miles southwest of Wilmington, 24 miles south of Newark, and 23 miles northwest of Dover.

Before 1850, the area within the present boundaries of the town was occupied by a small African-American community called "Charley Town," named after Charles Lloyd, one of the residents. Around 1850, Samuel Townsend bought much of the land and subsequently gave the village its present name. In 1856 the town became a stop along the new Delaware Railroad, bringing Townsend new prosperity. During the latter half of the 19th century, large quantities of agricultural produce were shipped from Townsend, especially peaches, grain, and lumber. The town served as a shipping point and a marketplace for the scattered rural population of the area.

Townsend incorporated on April 3, 1885, at which time the town was platted and the streets were laid out. By 1888, the village had a population of 350. Since that time, the railroad has lost its prominence to trucking for freight hauling in the United States. However, the railroad and agriculture are still important in shaping the character of Townsend. Today, it remains a small residential town of about 1,100 people.

Townsend exemplifies the characteristics of many of the small towns in Delaware. It comprises predominantly single-family homes in a small-town, rural setting. The center of town is a relatively dense, walkable area centered on the crossing of Wiggins Mill Road and Main Street (or Caldwell Corner Road). The historic core is characterized by a wide variety of house sizes and styles, from Victorian homes to bungalows. In addition, the historic core is picturesque and walkable, with short blocks, sidewalks, and tree-lined streets. The Townsend Historic District was listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1986.

‡ 2010 Update to the 2003 Town of Townsend Comprehensive Plan, June 2010, townsend.delaware.gov, accessed December, 2018.