Brandywine Springs Digs and Preservation


Brandywine Springs B & O Railroad Station

In the time since this blog was created I have wanted to attend a archeological dig on the grounds of the old Brandywine Springs Spa / Amusement Park to take some photos showing the work these volunteers do to help preserve the history of this site and large piece of history in Delaware and The Lower Red Clay Valley. Though I had good intentions of getting there for a dig, I never made it due to one thing or another. At a recent event held at The Wilmington and Western Railroad I ran into Mike Ciosek, President of The Friends of Branywine Springs (FOBS). Mike oversees the digs that go on there and asked him if he had any photos he could share. He sent me some and here is a short part of his email:
 There are photos from 4 archaeology sites. FOBS has been digging in the park since 1994. Our objective is to find and mark the sites of the buildings in the park. This will allow people to take a historical nature walk in the old amusement park.
 I will not include all the photos in this first post but will break it down by subject for now and on future posts. I want to thank Mike for his input and his sharing of these pictures. I do believe these were taken by him and are property of the Friends of Brandywine Springs. I would also like to note, the text below each photo was input from Mike.

 In 1891 an agreement was made with the B&O Railroad to allow them to erect a station in the park. This photo is from a George Wolf postcard of the era and was the only photo we had. Note on the postcard it is called a pavilion so we have kept that designation. The Wilmington & Western Railroad calls it a station.
The photo is typical of what we found for the footers. The 18” x 18” x 6” concrete footer cap was cast off site. We could tell this was made by the B&O because there are coal particles as large as 1 inch in size in the concrete. The coal pile must have been next to the sand pile where they did the concrete casting. In the photo you can also see mortar with coal dust between the local rock columns that supported the concrete cap.
The photo shows the sign and posts FOBS put in place to mark where the building was located. The current Wilmington & Western Railroad narration points out the posts and signs during their trips up the Red Clay Valley

Brandywine Springs Exhibit Hall

As I said before in an earlier post, these photos were passed along to me by and the property of Mike Ciosek from The Friends of Branywine Springs. Beneath each, Mike gives a description of the the photos contents.
I want to thank Mike and the volunteers of FOBS for continued work.

This photo shows the sign that we put in place in 2006. The building was built in 1891 and was used for roller skating, dance pavilion, and merchant exhibits. In 1910 the building was reconfigured into an open air pavilion.

We found several new footings for the building after a flood in the park. Before that date we only knew where the northwest corner of the building was located. After the flood, we found a number of footers and were able to determine the building size was 92 feet square. FOBS built the sign and erected yellow corner posts to show the size of the building. The yellow arrows in the photo show the corner post locations.
This was the footer that was uncovered by the flood, we cleaned it for the photograph.

 Ladies Pavilion

 A 1912 postcard showing the Ladies Pavilion (ladies restroom) with a porch all around. We found the footers for the building and porch during the 2006-2007 digs. We rebuilt the footers with the help of NCC Councilman Tim Sheldon, a mason by trade.


This Ladies Pavilion photo shows the footer with the mortar that had completely deteriorated and the only thing holding them together and in place was gravity.


he new red posts were erected by Chris Ellis for his Eagle Scout project. He used four tall posts to show where the building corners were located and four shorter posts to show the corners of the porch that surrounded the building. I am currently working on a sign to show the post card and text explaining the site.

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