Since the first Swedish settlers arrived in 1638, the city of Wilmington has continued to evolve, first under foreign influence and British colonization, and then as a free American state. The city was named after Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, and developed steadily as a prosperous business and residential community. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company built the first powder mill on Brandywine Creek in 1802. The Industrial Revolution did not officially start until the completion of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad in 1837. Wilmington was incorporated in 1832. The post-Civil War era saw a time of prosperity and suburban development in Wilmington. Both World Wars stimulated key industries, such as shipyards, steel foundries, machinery and chemical producers. Today, Wilmington is undergoing a Renaissance of growth and renewed vigor both in industrial revitalization and residential development.
Wilmington is a city of historic significance and numerous exciting attractions provide a look into its colorful history. In addition to the acres of picturesque parkland, downtown Wilmington is full of historical sites and museums such as Old Swedes Church, Willingtown Square, Rodney Square, the Hagley Museum and Library, Delaware Museum of Natural History and Rockwood Museum.
Wilmington is home to the Playhouse and the Grand Opera House, preeminent centers for the performing arts. The Delaware Theater Company occupies a new facility along the city's Christina River. Sports lovers will enjoy several challenging golf courses; in fact, the Ed Oliver Golf Club was ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top five golf courses in Delaware. Wilmington even has a Class-A minor league baseball club, the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
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