Georgetown, Delaware

Georgetown, Delaware

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Georgetown, Delaware
settlement_type = Town
nickname =
motto =

mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location of Georgetown, Delaware

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Delaware
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Sussex
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Edwin A. Lambden
leader_title1 = Town Council
leader_name1 = Charlie Koskey, Sue H. Barlow, Bob Ricker, Brian G. Pettyjohn
established_title = Founded
established_date = 1791

area_footnotes =
unit_pref = Imperial
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 10.7
area_land_km2 = 10.7
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 4.1
area_land_sq_mi = 4.1
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 4643
population_density_km2 = 433.9
population_density_sq_mi = 1123.9

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 16
elevation_ft = 52
latd = 38 |latm = 41 |lats = 25 |latNS = N
longd = 75 |longm = 23 |longs = 12 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 19947
area_code = 302
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 10-29090
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0213993
website = []
footnotes =

Georgetown is a town in Sussex County, Delaware, United States. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the town is 4,927.cite web | date = June 21 2006 | url = | title = Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Delaware | format = CSV | work = 2005 Population Estimates | publisher = U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division | accessmonthday = November 21 | accessyear = 2006] It is the county seat of Sussex County.GR|6

Georgetown is part of the Seaford, Delaware Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Lewes as the County Seat

Prior to Georgetown's position as the county seat of Sussex County it was located in Lewes on the Delaware Bay. Dutch colonists had set up Delaware's first colony there in 1631 and it remained the only significant settlement in Delaware for some time. When William Penn established the three lower counties of Pennsylvania, which are now Delaware, Lewes was the natural choice for the location of the Sussex County's Seat of Justice.

Sussex County itself was not well defined until after 1760 when a dispute between William Penn's family and Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore was finally settled after intervention from the Crown. This dispute had the effect of delaying discussion over an appropriate county seat while the more important argument over the county's borders continued. Earlier Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore had argued that the county ended with Lewes, while Penn's sons stated it continued into Fenwick Island, which it now does. The Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed as part the agreement between the Penn's and Lord Baltimore and it has since defined the western and southern border of the county.

Creation of Georgetown

All the while Lewes continued to serve as the county seat throughout much of the 18th century, despite the fact that it involved over a day's trip across poor roads for the western residents. As the population of the county increased, the location of Lewes in the far east of the county became less and less suitable. After petitioning by western citizens of the county to the Delaware General Assembly, a law was passed on January 29, 1791 that would centralise the location of the county seat. At the time, the land in central Sussex County was for the most part swampy and uninhabited, so the county government hired ten commissioners to purchase land, build a courthouse and jail and sell lots in an area at "James Pettyjohn's old field or about a mile from where Ebenezer Pettyjohn now lives," as the original order states.

On May 9, 1791, the commissioners under the leadership of the Delaware State Senator George Mitchell purchased 76 acres (308,000 m²). The commissioner Rhodes Shankland began the survey by laying out "a spacious square of 100 yards each way." Eventually Georgetown was laid out in a circle one mile in diameter and centered around the original square surveyed by Shankland. This square is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The new location proved indeed a much better administrative center and Georgetown is in fact still said to be "sixteen miles from everywhere" in Sussex County.

The County Courthouse and Jail were built in the southeastern section of the town square and as a result of the evidence that the new county seat was well on its way, the Seat of Justice was officially moved on October 26, 1791 and named Georgetown in honor of the lead commissioner George Mitchell. 60 by 120-foot lots were surveyed and sold to counterbalance the State's investment.

Later History

Because of Delaware's status as a border state during the Civil War, Georgetown, like all of Sussex County, sent men to fight for both the Union and Confederate sides. This apparently had a very negative effect on many of the town's prominent family as it had a tendency to divide them to a vicious degree.


The town is home to a large chicken processing plant owned by Perdue Farms. The plant employs a sizeable number of immigrants from Haiti and Guatemala. Consequently, Georgetown has more of an international flavor to it than one would expect from a Colonial-era town. Georgetown is also the home of WZBH radio.

Return Day

Every two years, Georgetown hosts an unusual event known as "Return day", a half-day-long parade and festival two days after Election Day. Stemming from the colonial days in which the public would congregate in Georgetown two days after the election to hear the results (because it would take that long to deliver the results to the courthouse by horseback), the winners of that year's political races parade around The Circle in carriages with the losers and the chairs of the county's political parties ceremonially "bury the hatchet" in a tub of sand. The afternoon of Return Day is a holiday for county and state workers in Sussex County, and the event is marked by a traditional oyster feast, much revelry, and, of course, the beginning of the next round of campaigns. Many in Delaware feel that the state's traditionally chummy and staid political climate is due in large part to the Return Day tradition.


Georgetown is somewhat unique among Delaware municipalities in that the center of the town is built around a circle, instead of the more traditional parklike square. Straddling "The Circle", as it is unsurprisingly called, is the Town Hall; state and county buildings, including the historic Sussex County Courthouse (the original Courthouse was replaced by the current structure which was built 1837 on South Bedford Street. It was further restored in 1976 and it currently serves as the home of the Georgetown Historical Society); lawyers' offices; a bank, and the Brick Hotel, which is currently undergoing restoration. This layout is similar to that found in Annapolis, Maryland, except that, unlike in Annapolis, where the State House is the focal point of the circle, the center of Georgetown's circle is a small park with a fountain. Georgetown's oldest church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church dates to 1794 and is built in the Victorian Gothic style.


Georgetown is located at coor dms|38|41|25|N|75|23|12|W|city (38.690177, -75.386676).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.7 km²), all of it land.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 4,643 people, 1,489 households, and 957 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,123.9 people per square mile (434.1/km²). There were 1,591 housing units at an average density of 385.1/sq mi (148.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 56.19% White, 20.87% African American, 2.07% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 18.03% from other races, and 2.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.73% of the population.

There were 1,489 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 14.3% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 16.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 107.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $31,875, and the median income for a family was $37,925. Males had a median income of $20,886 versus $19,944 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,288. About 20.9% of families and 25.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.8% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

In 2000, 21.6% of Georgetown residents identified as being of Guatemalan heritage. This was the highest percentage of Guatemalan Americans of any place in the country.


Georgetown's crime rate is well above the national average in most categories.

Formula used for chart: ((Crimes Reported) / (Population)) X 100,000) []


In 1981, a baseball team from Georgetown won the Senior Little League World Series in Gary, Indiana. Members of the team included Tim Conoway, Kevin Duperron, Mike Hearn, Barry Joseph, Alan Mears, Brian Messick, Tim Mumford, Bruce Noble, Tim Reynolds, Bill Savage, Jeff Shockley, Tom Tipton, Kevin Waples, Guy Wilkins, and John Young. They were coached by Russell Elliot and Coston Shockley.

Luke Pettigout from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, grew up in Georgetown and attended Sussex Central High School before he attended college at the University of Notre Dame and was drafted into the NFL by the New York Giants.

Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow has been a police officer in Georgetown since September, 2003. Matt says he was inspired to do something more substantial with his life after the September 11 attacks. He left the band to pursue a career in law enforcement. Then on December 11, 2007 he rejoined Iced Earth replacing Tim 'Ripper' Owens, who had replaced him a few years earlier.

Is Also Home To the Famed Possum Point Players Club of Lower Sussex County


External links

* [ Official Website of the Town of Georgetown]
* [ The Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Georgetown Local News]

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