Cooch's Bridge

State seeks input on plan for Cooch’s Bridge site

Charlie MegginsonCulture, Headlines

Cooch's Bridge

(Friends of Cooch’s Bridge Historical Site)

The 1777 Battle of Cooch’s Bridge was the only one fought on Delaware soil and the first time that the Stars and Stripes were flown in battle. With such a storied history, you might be surprised to learn you could have a say in the site’s future.

Well, you do. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will hold three public workshops in October to gather input and design an interpretive plan.

The historic site is located at 961 South Old Baltimore Pike in Newark.

“The goal is to create a site where the interpretation is really community driven and includes the more expansive history of the site while putting a laser focus on what people want to see and hear from us as we build from the ground up,” said site manager Kaitlyn Dykes.

Cooch's Bridge Historical Site

Section of the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site including the modern-era bridge at left and the Cooch homestead at right. (Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs)

Dykes and others are working with consultant Robert Forloney of the Cultural Institution to prepare a document that will assess the needs of the site.

The document will outline goals relating to administration and management, visitor experience, community and stakeholder engagement, and possible design options for what the site might ultimately look like.

“Most places don’t get to do that because most historic sites are already established by the time they reach out to the community,” Dykes said. “We’re in a very cool spot where we get to reach out to the community first to build the foundation.”

The goal is to have a plan completed in 2023.

The public is encouraged to participate in upcoming public workshops in October 2022. Two workshops will be held in person, and one will be held virtually:

  • Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. 6–8 p.m. In person at the Buena Vista Conference Center, 661 S. Dupont Highway, New Castle. Free and open to the public
  • Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. 10 a.m.–Noon. In person at the Buena Vista Conference Center, 661 S. Dupont Highway, New Castle. Free and open to the public
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. 6–8 p.m. Virtual workshop streamed live via Zoom. Free but registration required by going to this link.

 For additional information, call the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site at 302-922-7116 or email this address.

The Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site has multiple components, including the Cooch Homestead and Cooch-Dayett Mill complex. 

The homestead, which includes a 10-acre parcel with the historic home and outbuildings, was the focal point for the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge.

Cooch's Bridge

Cooch-Dayett Mills, circa 1950. The site’s mill race is in the foreground. (Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs)

The mill complex includes the circa-1830s mill, miller’s house, outbuildings and the right-of-way access to the mill race and dams along the Christina River. 

The current mill is the third in a succession of grist mills built by the family in the area, with the first dating to the mid-18th century. That portion of the property spans more than 60 acres and includes preserved lands such as a floodplain, meadows and a leased agricultural field. 

Both components of the property help tell the agricultural and industrial story in and around Newark and illuminate the lives of those who worked and lived in the area.

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