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Delaware’s Historic Churches

Delaware’s remarkable history has included numerous figures of faith. Several historic church buildings throughout the state give visitors an interesting look into the religious history of the region.

• Old Swedes Church — Beginning in 1638, Swedish colonists set up settlements in the Delaware Valley near what is now Wilmington. On land purchased from the local Indians, the Swedes built a fur-trading community and constructed a church in 1698. Today, visitors to Old Swedes Church can see its Tiffany stained-glass windows and other historical artifacts.

• Friends Meeting Houses — Members of the Quaker denomination established their Friends Meeting Houses in Wilmington and Odessa during the 18th century, and both buildings have seen their share of history. Most notably, each church served as a station on the Underground Railroad, housing runaway slaves in their balconies to help them avoid capture.

• Barratt’s Chapel — Constructed in Frederica in 1780, Barratt’s Chapel is the oldest surviving church building in the country erected by and for Methodists. Notable Methodist figures such as John Wesley, Thomas Cooke and Francis Asbury visited the church at various times. The structure is still maintained as a Heritage Landmark by the United Methodist Church and plays host to several special church services each year.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.