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Modern highway construction in Ellendale in 1918

June 1, 2021

Industrialist and philanthropist T. Coleman duPont financed construction of Rt. 113 in Sussex County, between Dover and Selbyville, part of what would eventually become the DuPont Highway running the length of Delaware. His goal was to open the southern part of Delaware to the northern markets.  

In a history of Sussex highways written by John Milner and Associates in 2005 for Delaware’s Department of Transportation, duPont is quoted as writing about his vision: “Assuming that I have been more fortunate than some people in the matter of finances, why should not I let others benefit thereby? What better public improvement could I make than a modern highway and boulevard? I first thought of building a normal training school for boys, or endowing a large hospital, or erecting a fountain, but considered the farmer and all citizens would benefit more by a roadway the length of the state.”

By 1918, when this photograph was made, duPont’s vision was well underway. Shown are contractors constructing a section of the highway, supported by a narrow gauge railway, in the vicinity of Ellendale.

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