This year, 1947, New York is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the arrival of Peter Stuyvesant at Manhattan an director-general of New Netherland In America. It was Stuyvesant who selected the site of New Castle for the Dutch capital on the South River (the Delaware) in 1651, who built Fort Casimir that year and founded the town. He planned the streets and the green, much as they are today, and gave instructions for their development to the deputy directors after 1655. In 1668, Director Stuyvesant made a third visit to the little town then called New Amstel, and although both records and map embodying his plans are lost, his separate directions and his account of the town he laid out at the site of Wilmington indicate that the plan upon which New Castle developed and exists today, was his. A green, adequate space for gardens and orchards and land for a common were essentials. The straight parallel streets were laid out along the Strand and west of the green with "Thwart streets" running back from the rivers, crossing the others at right angles. When Fort Casimir was built on the high sandy point that formerly extended out into the river beyond the end of present Chestnut Street, the town site behind it rose abruptly In a bank of fast land, a few feet above the low sandy shore and leveled off gently into a low wooded plateau. This stretch of fast land was flanked by two streams, north and south, each bordered by a tidal marsh and fed by springs drained through a sandy subsoil. The first of the parallel rows of lots for houses and gardens were the Strand south of the fort and Beaver Street west of the green - the present Fourth Street. The land between was left open as green or common. Twenty-two houses built of wood were put up along these streets in the next four years,, 1651 to 1654. After 1855 the remaining streets of the central town were gradually laid out and lots for dwellings and public buildings assigned. By the close of the Dutch period In 1664, the town had a hundred houses, mostly of wood with brick chimnies and some with tile roofs. Brick was beginning to be used, and its use increased in the Duke of York period which followed. By the end of the century the earliest wooden houses had been largely replaced by more substantial structures on the some sites. But during the whole of the first half of the eighteenth century, enough of the early wooden and brick houses survived to suggest the Dutch character of the town's origin. Some of these still exist, mostly incorporated as kitchen wings of later-built dwellings. Others have been torn down and replaced. Throughout Its history from the beginning, the town has been interesting to travelers both from this country and abroad who have visited it; and many descriptions of New Castle have been written by them. The early plan and aspect of the town have persisted so well up to the present, that looking at New Castle today in the light of these early descriptions and other contemporary records and considering the Information revealed by property deeds and willis by early drawings and paintings, a panorama of its first founding, growth and change can readily be visualized. When Fort Casimir on its point of land where the ferry wharf now is, was weakened by storms and its repair neglected because of lack of available labor, a blockhouse, with prison underneath and court room above was built on the green at the site now occupied by Immanuel Church. A few years later a windmill was built near the north end of Second Street. How soon after the arrival of William Penn, the blockhouse was discarded upon the building of part of the court house on its present sites Is still a question; but the green continued to be the center of public activity. The weekly market was hold here, the stalls extending behind the site of the city hall. Outstanding features of the skyline would be the windmill and the tall gables of some of the houses. Notable among the latter was the "Tile House" on the Strand, a remarkable dwelling house, large and high for its period, with stepped gable facing the street and a roof of Dutch tiles, built in 1687. This strongly built fine example of the work of the early Dutch builders, was inexcusably neglected in the nineteenth century and though its walls and masonry foundations were still strong In 1884, It was taken down in that year. Near this sites in the garden of the present Read House was the broad and substantial early eighteenth century dwelling of George Read, the Signer. It was destroyed in the fire that swept the Strand from Delaware Street nearly to Harmony in 1824. This fire destroyed taverns, shops and dwellings, most of them on the east side of the Strand, but on the west side destroyed in addition to the Read house, the Rowan tavern which stood in the present Morrison garden. (#14 the Strand) A fire about a hundred years earlier had destroyed the house of Colonel John French on the northwest corner of the Strand and Delaware Street, where the Farmers Bank was later built. After Colonel French's house was burned, this site was called the "burnt Lot" in the many indentures by which it subsequently changed hands. For many years it was a garden with a great willow tree near the corner. Tradition tells that it was long unfenced, and that a bench beneath the willow became a resting and trysting place with a fine view of the river. Later a wall was built around it. Colonel French was an outstanding figure of New Castle's life, and with his house were burnt minutes of the assembly and other Important records. Every street and site of the central town is of historic interest. These are briefly reviewed in the immediately following sections of this report; and the history and character of many sites and buildings are given in more specific detail in later sections.