Scenic USA - Delaware

Old Swedes Church

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Holy Trinity (Old Swedes Church) - Wilmington, Delaware

Photos by Terri and Ben Prepelka

   Standing tall for over 300 years, the Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, Delaware, is one of the oldest church buildings in the United States. Built by Swedish pioneers who arrived on the Kalmar Nyckel in 1638, the rectangular foundation was laid out in 1698. The main structure used Delaware's blue granite, as well as brick ballast taken from ships.
   Over 15,000 people have been buried in the churchyard since 1638, many with unmarked graves. The building site was carefully chosen to avoid original gravesites. The first head stones were made of wood or slate, explaining their South Portico, Holy Trinity Church - Wilmington, Delaware disappearance. The earliest legible marker dates the death of William Vandever in 1718.
   Surrounded by a thick canopy of trees, this view captures the 1802 bell tower addition. Trees have always been a part of city church grounds, but over the last decade 19 large trees have been removed, sparking a restoration plan to replace specific species.
   A rare example of Swedish Colonial architecture, the Old Swedes Church one of America's earliest historic treasures built in 1699. Built to replace a log structure on the Christina River, the church continues today as a house of worship. Down on 606 Church Street, in the heart of Wilmington, Holy Trinity parishioners are proud of their history and invite guests to take a church tour. Times of the tours vary throughout the year.

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