Delaware Yesterday, DelawareToday 1962-2012

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In April 1962 a brand-new magazine, DelawareToday, rolled off the press. This year marks its 50th anniversary. We’re joining the celebration by collaborating with the magazine on an exhibit in the Delaware History Museum. Delaware Yesterday, DelawareToday, 1962-2012 will examine the past 50 years through DelawareToday’s coverage of life in Delaware and the Delaware Historical Society’s collections. Some of the images and objects in the exhibition will show dramatic and significant changes, while others will bring back memories of fads some of us would probably rather forget.

Delaware Today magazine cover
showing Delaware State Fair, 1962

It’s hard to believe, but 1962 is indeed history. One fact that affects everything is that the state’s population has doubled since 1960. First Staters are now more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before. And, one important ratio has changed: in 1960, about 55 percent of Delawareans were born in the state, but by 2010, about 55 percent of us came from other states or nations.

Dramatic photographs will show how Delaware’s landscape is very different today than it was in the early 1960s, when the interstate highway system was just getting started, the Delaware Memorial Bridge had only one span, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry had not yet set sail. Today, the highway system is fully built, and is constantly being rebuilt. The Delaware Memorial Bridge has two spans, and the ferry joins southern Delaware and southern New Jersey.

In the early 1960s only residents of northern New Castle County enjoyed a suburban lifestyle. Since then, suburban developments have spread throughout the state, spurred by population growth, the desire for modern housing, and the development of the road network.

Wilmington remains Delaware’s largest city, but it has experienced many challenges in the past half century. Interstate 95 cut a swath through the west side while urban renewal dramatically changed the east side. The city’s population has declined. With the development of suburbs, downtown Wilmington has lost relevance. Yet the city has constantly strived to reinvent itself in various ways, as shown through a large architectural model of recent development in the neighborhood of the Amtrak station.

Whether your family has been here 200 years or you moved here recently, you’re sure to learn something that will help you understand how Delaware’s yesterdays shape the Delaware we know today.