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The Trustees of The New Castle Common
Incorporated 1764, New Castle, Delaware
Hermitage Natural Area
The Trustees of The New Castle Common has, since its inception, been involved in the community in many different ways. Over the years Trust projects have included: The purchase and development of Battery Park Establishment of the river walkway Support of wetlands rehabilitation Major renovations to the Old Town Hall Construction of the Good Will Fire Company building, and its new addition Construction of the Public Library in the1960's and major support of its renovation and expansion Funding for the Public Safety building. Scholarship grant program for city residents Support the New Castle Historical Society Concerts in the Park Penn Farm Restoration Provide land for New Castle Little League To see some highlights of recent fiscal years - click here.
Community
Other community projects in which the Trustees have played a role
The very first appropriation of funds in 1798 was for eductional purposes. For a time all the funds of the trust were devoted to the erection and maintenance of the New Castle Academy. Later the Arsenal Building on the Green (then a one story building) was taken by the Trustees and rebuilt and there the Trustees established the New Castle Institute. The Trustees then opened and entirely supported all the public schools of the town until 1875, when the Board of Education was created.  About 1931, when William Penn High School was built, the State appropriation was not sufficient without serious curtailment of the plans. The value of the building was secured by the aid of the Trustees to the extent of $20,000. (Source: The Blue Book)
New Castle Academy Chartered 1801, drawing by B. Latrobe, 1804, image courtesy of Delaware Public Archives.
This area is named for “The Hermitage”, a house built by Nicholas Van Dyke Jr. between 1801 and 1818.  Over the years the area has been a farm, a summer retreat and pasture. It is now being developed as a nature area with three trails, and a wildlife safety zone for hiking photography and nature study. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from birds to beavers.