Alapocas Run State Park

Last updated

Alapocas Run State Park
Alapocas quarry.JPG
Alapocas Run Quarry
USA Delaware location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Alapocas Run State Park in Delaware
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Alapocas Run State Park (the United States)
Location New Castle, Delaware, United States
Coordinates 39°46′34″N75°32′46″W / 39.77611°N 75.54611°W / 39.77611; -75.54611
Area415 acres (168 ha)
Named forAlapocas Run, tributary of Brandywine Creek
Governing bodyDelaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Website Alapocas Run State Park
Alapocas Falls Alapocas Falls.jpg
Alapocas Falls

Alapocas Run State Park is a state park, located in Wilmington, Delaware, United States, along the Brandywine Creek and its Alapocas Run tributary. Open year-round, it is 415 acres (168 ha) [1] in area. Much of the state park was created from land originally preserved by William Poole Bancroft in the early 1900s to be used as open space parkland by the city of Wilmington as it expanded. [2] The park also includes the Blue Ball Barn, a dairy barn built by Alfred I. du Pont as part of his Nemours estate in 1914. In addition to walking trails, athletic fields, and playgrounds for children, one of the park's primary features is a rock climbing wall. The rock climbing wall is part of an old quarry across from historic Bancroft Mills on the Brandywine, and the quarry is also used for school educational programs centered on earth sciences. [3] [4]



Footbridge to Bancroft Mills Alapocas foot bridge.JPG
Footbridge to Bancroft Mills
Brandywine River and Alapocas Woods Brandywine in alapocas.JPG
Brandywine River and Alapocas Woods

Alapocas Run was originally created as a 123-acre city park (50 ha) named Alapocas Woods. In 1910 when Alfred I. du Pont was building his Nemours estate from DuPont Company lands, fellow industrialist William Poole Bancroft convinced him to have the company transfer a portion of the land between Nemours and the Brandywine to the city of Wilmington. Bancroft then donated a portion of his own lands along the Brandywine to the city. In addition to being a businessman, Bancroft was also a philanthropist and conservationist and had played a key role, including donating land, in establishing other city parks due to his desire to preserve the scenic beauty of the Brandywine. Directly across the river was the mill complex owned by him and his brother, Samuel. At the time of the creation of Alapocas Woods, he was serving as President of the Wilmington Park Commission. Bancroft and du Pont then jointly paid for the paving of Alapocas Road, which separated the park from the Nemours estate. [5] [6] The park grew to 145 acres (59 ha) over the years, much of which consisted of mature woodland. It also contained the remains of an granite quarry which had operated from 1870 to 1938. Stone from the quarry had been used to create local landmarks such as the Brandywine Park walls, Rockford Park's tower, and the National Harbor of Refuge. [7]

In 1998, Alapocas Run was made part of a state park when it was combined with several other city parks to form Wilmington State Parks.

Trail through Alapocas Woods Alapocas woods trail.JPG
Trail through Alapocas Woods

In 1999, as part of its efforts to convince pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to relocate its headquarters to the Wilmington suburbs, the state launched the $127 million Blue Ball Project to redo the area's network of roads in addition to creating additional parkland by purchasing open space, developing recreational facilities, and preserving local historic structures. [8] [9] The project included the purchase of roughly 152 acres (62 ha) of land from the nearby Nemours Foundation to be used as open space parkland. At the time of the purchase, the Nemours Foundation also donated a conservation easement on 70 acres (28 ha) of mature woods behind the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. [10] [11]

The new Alapocas Run State Park was officially dedicated in 2002, with the existing parkland near the Brandywine combined with the additional open space purchased as part of the Blue Ball Project. Development of various park amenities, including the restoration of the historic Blue Ball Barn, was slated to take place over the next three years. [12]

In November 2015, the Nemours Foundation donated 46 acres (19 ha) (of the 70 under conservation easement) for an expansion of the park. [13] [14]


Blue Ball Dairy Barn Blueball Dairy barn side Wilmington DE.JPG
Blue Ball Dairy Barn

The Blue Ball Barn serves as the park visitor's center and headquarters. The Delaware Folk Art Collection is on permanent exhibit within the barn, and it houses over 120 works by 50 local artists meant to highlight the state's diverse artistic heritage. The first floor contains exhibits about the area's agricultural history and the development of dairy technology. The barn contains conference and meeting rooms that can be rented out.

The barn was developed into part of the park as part of the state's efforts to reuse historic structures. The building was built in 1914 by Alfred I. du Pont as a state-of-the-art dairy barn. The dairy barn and surrounding farm complex were used to provide food for the Nemours estate from 1914 until 1943. From 1943 through 1977, the barn and farmland was leased out to a family of independent operators who sold the dairy produce externally. After 1977, most of the surrounding farm buildings were demolished. The barn was one of the few remaining structures. [15] [16]

The Blue Ball Barn had been named after a tavern that dated back to the late 18th century which had been located near the barn. In front of the tavern was a pole with a large blue ball that could be raised or lowered. If the ball was on top of the pole, that served as a signal to illiterate stagecoach drivers that there were passengers which needed to be picked up. If the ball was lowered, the stagecoach would pass by. [17]


Can-Do Playground Alapocas can do playground.JPG
Can-Do Playground
The rock climbing wall Alapocas rock climb.JPG
The rock climbing wall

U.S. Route 202 divides roughly a quarter of the park from the rest. This section, referred to as the east park, is primarily reserved for active recreational uses while the bulk of the park to the west of US 202 is designed for passive recreation and preservation of the natural environment. [18]

The eastern section of the park includes three athletic fields which are available for permitted use of team sports such as lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, rugby, and kickball. [19] It includes the 26,000 square foot Can-Do Playground, a boundless playground designed and funded by local Rotary Clubs to be fully accessible to children with disabilities. The playground opened in 2007. [20] Nearby the playground is a pavilion and picnic area with outdoor grills. [21]

The eastern section of the park is also connected through trails and underpasses to the adjacent Rock Manor Golf Course. The public golf course, owned by the city of Wilmington, was first opened in 1921 and was named after the Rock Manor estate where Alfred du Pont stayed while Nemours was being built. [22] The course was closed in 2005 and then extensively redesigned by Lester George as part of the Blue Ball Project. After it reopened in 2008, it was recognized as part of the American Society of Golf Course Architects' Design Excellence Recognition Program. [23] [24] [25]

The western portion has the bulk of the park's hiking and biking trails, including over 2 miles of the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail (part of the East Coast Greenway), a 10.5 mile trail linking Alapocas Run to other northern Delaware sites including Bellevue State Park, Fox Point State Park, Rockwood Museum and Park, and Wilmington State Parks. The .7 mile Alapocas Woods Trail, with the .3 mile PawPaw loop extension, is another trail through the natural areas of the park's western section and is a good place to see the park's mature pawpaw trees. [26] The rock walls remaining from an old granite quarry have been set up to allow rock climbing and rappelling. [27]

Nearby state parks

The following state parks are within 30 miles (48 km) of Alapocas Run State Park:

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greenville, Delaware</span> CDP in Delaware, United States

Greenville is a bedroom community in New Castle County, Delaware, United States, and a suburb of Wilmington. The population was 2,326 at the 2010 census. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Greenville as a census-designated place (CDP). The community is also home to the private residence of Joe Biden, the 46th and current president of the United States, and many Du Pont family descendants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wilmington, Delaware</span> Largest city in Delaware

Wilmington is the largest city in the U.S. state of Delaware. The city was built on the site of Fort Christina, the first Swedish settlement in North America. It lies at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River. It is the county seat of New Castle County and one of the major cities in the Delaware Valley metropolitan area. Wilmington was named by Proprietor Thomas Penn after his friend Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, who was prime minister during the reign of George II of Great Britain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hagley Museum and Library</span> Nonprofit museum and library in Wilmington, Delaware

The Hagley Museum and Library is a nonprofit educational institution in unincorporated New Castle County, Delaware, near Wilmington. Covering more than 235 acres (95 ha) along the banks of the Brandywine Creek, the museum and grounds include the first du Pont family home and garden in the United States, the powder yards, and a 19th-century machine shop. On the hillside below the mansion lies a Renaissance Revival garden, with terraces and statuary, created in the 1920s by Louise Evelina du Pont Crowninshield (1877–1958).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brandywine Creek (Christina River tributary)</span> Creek in Pennsylvania and Delaware, US

Brandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware in the United States. The Lower Brandywine is 20.4 miles (32.8 km) long and is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River with several tributary streams. The East Branch and West Branch of the creek originate within 2 miles (3 km) of each other on the slopes of Welsh Mountain in Honey Brook Township, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of their confluence.

du Pont family Wealthy American family

The du Pont family or Du Pont family is a prominent American family descended from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817). It has been one of the richest families in the United States since the mid-19th century, when it founded its fortune in the gunpowder business. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it expanded its wealth through the chemical industry and the automotive industry, with substantial interests in the DuPont company, General Motors, and various other corporations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">White Clay Creek State Park</span> State park in Delaware, United States

White Clay Creek State Park is a Delaware state park along White Clay Creek on 3,647 acres (1,476 ha) in New Castle County, near Newark, Delaware in the United States. North of the park is Pennsylvania's White Clay Creek Preserve, and the two were originally operated as bi-state parks to jointly protect the creek, but now they operate separately. The White Clay Creek is federally protected as part of the National Park Service's National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. White Clay Creek State Park offers 37 miles (60 km) of nature and fitness trails which are open to hiking and mountain biking 365 days a year with access at a number of seasonal day-use fee parking lots. Fee season is in effect March 1 - November 30. Fees are $4 for in-state vehicle or $8 for out of state vehicles. Annual passes can be purchased at any DE State Park Office or online. The park also preserves a number of historic structures and operates a nature center. It is part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Delaware Route 141</span> Highway in Delaware

Delaware Route 141 (DE 141) is a state highway that serves as a western bypass of Wilmington, Delaware. Its southern terminus is at DE 9 and DE 273 in New Castle and its northern terminus is an interchange with U.S. Route 202 (US 202) and DE 261 near Fairfax. The route heads north from DE 9 and DE 273 on four-lane divided Basin Road, becoming concurrent with US 202 at an interchange with US 13/US 40 in Wilmington Manor, and passes to the east of Wilmington Airport. The highway becomes a freeway and reaches an interchange with Interstate 95 (I-95) and I-295, at which point US 202 splits from DE 141. The DE 141 freeway continues north through Newport to Prices Corner. Here, the freeway segment ends and DE 141 continues northeast as a surface road, with another brief freeway segment in Greenville. The route heads east across the Brandywine Creek on the Tyler-McConnell Bridge and continues to US 202 and DE 261.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nemours Estate</span> Estate in Wilmington, Delaware

The Nemours Estate is a 200-acre (81 ha) country estate with jardin à la française formal gardens and a French neoclassical mansion in Wilmington, Delaware, United States. Built to resemble a French château, its 105 rooms on four floors occupy nearly 47,000 sq ft (4,400 m2). It shares the grounds at 1600 Rockland Road with the Nemours Children's Hospital, Delaware, and both are owned by the Nemours Foundation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brandywine Creek State Park</span> State park in Delaware, United States

Brandywine Creek State Park is a state park, located 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Wilmington, Delaware along the Brandywine Creek. Open year-round, it is 933 acres (378 ha) in area and much of the park was part of a Du Pont family estate and dairy farm before becoming a state park in 1965. It contains the first two nature preserves in Delaware. These nature preserves are Tulip Tree Woods and Freshwater Marsh. Flint Woods is a satellite area of the park and has become the park's third nature preserve. Flint Woods is home to species of rare song birds and an old-growth forest. The park's forests are part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fox Point State Park</span> State park in Delaware, United States

Fox Point State Park is a Delaware state park on 108 acres (44 ha) along the Delaware River in New Castle County, Delaware in the United States. The park, which opened in 1995, has been built atop a former hazardous waste site that has been rehabilitated under an adaptive reuse program that was spearheaded by S. Marston Fox and the Fox Point Civic Association. Fox Point State Park is open for year-round use from 8:00 am until sunset. The park offers recreational opportunities on biking and pedestrian trails with picnic facilities, a playground and volleyball and horseshoes facilities. Fox Point State Park is just off Interstate 495 and is the northern terminus of Delaware's Coastal Heritage Greenway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lums Pond State Park</span> State park in Delaware, United States

Lums Pond State Park is a 1,790-acre (720 ha) Delaware state park near Bear, New Castle County, Delaware in the United States. The park surrounds Lums Pond, an impoundment built by the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on St. Georges Creek. The C&D built the pond as a source of water to fill the locks of the canal that connected the Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River during the early 19th century. Lums Pond State Park is open for a wide variety of year-round recreation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wilmington State Parks</span> State park in Delaware, United States

Wilmington State Parks is a state park located in Wilmington, Delaware. Open year-round, the park is approximately 345 acres (140 ha) of land mostly situated along the Brandywine Creek. The state park is made up of a group of smaller parks that are administratively managed as a single unit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bellevue State Park (Delaware)</span> State park in Delaware, United States

Bellevue State Park is a 328-acre (133 ha) Delaware state park in the suburbs of Wilmington in New Castle County, Delaware in the United States. The park is named for Bellevue Hall, the former mansion of William du Pont Jr. Many of the facilities at the park were built by du Pont. Bellevue State Park overlooks the Delaware River and is open for year-round recreation, daily, from 8 a.m. until sunset. The Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church and Parsonage is located in Bellevue State Park; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Cauffiel House is a historic home in the park near Stoney Creek.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beaver Valley, Delaware and Pennsylvania</span> Unincorporated community in Delaware and Pennsylvania, United States

Beaver Valley straddles the Pennsylvania and Delaware border in Delaware County, PA and New Castle County, DE. An unincorporated place name, it is traversed by several streams which drain to Beaver Run which itself empties into the Brandywine River. It is approximately bounded by US Route 202 to the east, The Brandywine River to the west, Thompsons Bridge Road to the south, and Smithbridge Road to the north, with Beaver Valley Road encircling a large portion of the valley.

Edenridge is an unincorporated community in New Castle County, Delaware, United States in the Brandywine Hundred, north of Wilmington.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Woodbrook, Delaware</span> Unincorporated community in Delaware, United States

Woodbrook is a suburban community in New Castle County, Delaware.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rockford Park</span> United States historic place

Rockford Park is a historic public park located in a residential area of Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware. It is characterized by a large, grassy meadow which slopes gently upward to a large knoll overlooking the Brandywine River.


  1. Coxe, Robert. "Historical Analysis and Map of Vegetation Communities, Land Covers, and Habitats of Alapocas Run State Park" (PDF). University of Delaware. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  2. "Woodlawn Trustees, Inc. records : Accession 2424.I : Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library". Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  3. "A Teachers Guide to Delaware State Parks" (PDF). Delaware State Parks. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  4. "The Intern Files: Part II". Delaware Historical Society. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  5. Thompson, Priscilla. National Register of Historic Places Nomination (PDF) (Report). Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  6. Gelbert, Doug (1999). The Great Delaware Sports Book. ISBN   9780964442702 . Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  7. Zebley, Frank R. (1940). Along the Brandywine. William Cann, Inc. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  8. "Memorandum of Agreement" . Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  9. Parks, Jim. "Nyet to Blue Ball interchange redesign" . Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  10. "Blue Ball Properties Master Plan - 2.0 Introduction" (PDF). Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  11. Stachecki Sharp, Donna. "A Place for Nature and a Place for Us" . Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  12. Parks, Jim. "Plans for new state park unveiled" . Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  13. Shockley, Beth. "DNREC'S Division of Parks and Recreation receives major land donation from Nemours Foundation for Alapocas Run State Park". Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  14. Chen, Eli. "Alapocas Run State Park undergoes major improvements". Delaware Public News. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  15. "A. I. Du Pont Estate, Blue Ball Dairy Barn, Junction of U.S. Route 202 & Rockland Road, Wilmington, New Castle County, DE". Historical American Buildings Survey. Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  16. "History of the Blue Ball Dairy Barn & Milk House" (PDF). Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  17. King, Robert. "The History of the Blue Ball Tavern & the Purpose of the Blue Ball" (PDF). Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  18. "Blue Ball Properties Master Plan - 5.0 The Master Plan" (PDF). Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  19. "Athletic Fields". Delaware State Parks. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  20. "What Is Can-Do Playground". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  21. "Picnicking". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  22. Nann Burke, Melissa (9 November 2014). "Delaware Antique Show includes some First State finds". Wilmington News Journal. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  23. Lawrence, Adam. "Municipal courses: spreading the gospel of golf for over a century" . Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  24. Barks, Joe (12 May 2011). "Impressive Grille Work at Rock Manor GC" . Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  25. Adams, Bruce (17 August 2012). "Great Golf: Rock Manor's layout new to local public golfing scene". Main Line Media News. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  26. "Trails". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  27. "Rock Climbing". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.