1963: The search for more space

One of the Society’s big moves toward expansion in the 1960s was the purchase of the lot at 510 N. Market Street in Wilmington. For several years, the staff had conveyed the need for better collections storage than what the space in Old Town Hall could offer. At a special meeting of the Society in January 1963, the board announced that money had been raised to purchase the Arcadia Theater property adjacent to Old Town Hall.

View of Arcadia Theater building at 510 Market Street, as it appeared in 1939
View of Arcadia Theater building at 510 Market Street, as it appeared in 1939

Soon after the purchase of the land, the Society razed the existing building. At the same time, the board discussed the possibility of buying the old Customs House building on King Street to meet the additional storage needs. But despite these plans, the historical society did not opt to buy the Customs House nor did they build on the old Arcadia site. Instead, the property at 510 N. Market Street served, and continues to serve, as staff and special visitor parking.

The problem of space persisted until the purchase of other property on Market Street several years later. As the Society’s centennial drew nearer, the legacy of its first 100 years and the future of the organization were at the forefront of the minds of both staff and board.


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