The Kirkwood Highway is an almost six-mile portion of State Route 2 in New Castle County, Delaware. Built as a bypass of Marshallton after the opening of Delaware Park at Stanton in 1937, it was meant to provide Wilmington-area horse-racing fans a straighter and faster route to the track. It is named after a distinguished officer of the American Revolution, Robert Kirkwood Jr., who was born at his family’s farm along Polly Drummond Hill Road in Newark in 1756. Since it opened to automobile traffic, the highway has undergone numerous renovations and the scenery along its route has changed dramatically. Today, it is the fifth-busiest roadway in the state and is lined by shopping centers, national retailers, fast-food and chain restaurants, gas stations, subdivisions, and historic sites. Through vintage photographs, Along the Kirkwood Highway takes a nostalgic look back at the travel corridor, its cross streets, and familiar sites along its path.
New Ark, as it is pronounced and appeared on colonial maps, is located in New Castle County near the borders of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Scotch-Irish and Welsh settlers developed Newark as a market town around the intersection of two Lenni Lenape trails. Newark remained little more than a village throughout its history, reaching a population of only 11,000 by 1960. Today it is over 30,000, with an additional 15,000 students at the University of Delaware.
The original DuPont Highway, found on maps as Route 13 between Dover and Wilmington and as Route 113 between Dover and the southern border with Maryland, was the nation's first divided highway when its expansion between Dover and Wilmington was completed in 1934. It had been officially dedicated 10 years earlier as the Coleman DuPont Road. Thomas Coleman du Pont, a descendant of E. I. du Pont and a two-time U.S. senator, had championed the road and paid nearly $4 million of his own money toward its completion, even after turning the project over to the newly created Delaware State Highway Department. While other philanthropists started schools, libraries, parks, and hospitals, Coleman du Pont said, "I will build a monument a hundred miles high and lay it on the ground." He was close. The DuPont Highway measured 96.7 miles.