New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 


The Strand between the Read House and current Episcopal Parish House. Click here for higher resolution image.
Note on back: "Wm. T. Reed, cor after the Flood, representing the old house 1687."
Courtesy Delaware Public Archives #267-011.

New Castle Stereographs c1878*

Stereographs (or stereopticon pictures) were a popular approach to 3D images from c1850 to World War 1. The pictures shown here date from perhaps 1878* to c1890. While they are not now visually thrilling to us, they offer a glimpse of altered street-scapes with long-gone buildings and changes in fashion in both architecture and clothing styles. Click on the SLIDESHOW! link to browse through the images.


* Date disclaimer

When were they taken, and by whom? With the exception of the picture of Delaware Street at The Strand, none of the pictures had dates on them when they were acquired by the Delaware Public Archives or Delaware Historical Society.

As described in "Ask Caesar" annotation of the sterocard collection, that picture came from the Bullock collection and was probably produced by Joseph Maybin whose shop was on Market Street in Wilmington from 1866-1887.

However we can infer an approximate date of 1878 for several of the pictures. For example the picture of The Strand, above. shows the Dutch Tile House, with the numbers "1687" on the front. This building was in bad shape before it was torn down in 1884, so this picture must be earlier. The note on the back "cor. after the flood" and driftwood at the corner suggested to Randy Goss at the Archives that it may have been after a hurricane. In a list of all hurricanes in Delaware from 1850 to 1900, the only major one in the fall was on October, 1878. A description of this hurricane states "In New Castle, houses were blown down and unroofed, trees hurled to the ground, shutters and windows blown off, and chimneys, awnings, and signs mutilated. Two brick stables were destroyed. Four of the houses on the upper part of Market Street were carried fully a mile and a half inland by the sudden rise of the Delaware River. The banks were broken all along the riverfront." So this picture MAY have been take after the Oct. 1878 hurricane. The Tile House is also seen in between the two buildings to the right in the picture of the Strand below Harmony, so that picture, and the one of the Strand above Harmony both must be before 1884. Since the Tile House is in substantially better shape than one taken in 1884 just before its demolition, we can speculate that it may have been taken c1880.
The picture of 2nd street includes the town market which was torn down March 1, 1881
The color difference between the photos from the Delaware Public Archives and the Delaware Historical Society is an artifact resulting from different scanners being used.

Jim Meek '12