Rockwood Can No Longer Function With Small Intimate Groups of Visitors
County Executive Tom Gordon says he’ll need to create programs in order to keep museum afloat.
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The first time Ken Boulden saw Rockwood, he couldn’t imagine that he would ever officiate at weddings inside the 19th-century Rural Gothic mansion and on its grounds.
Back in the 1970s, Boulden, now the New Castle County clerk of the peace, was the county’s public information officer, and he visited the site several times with County Executive Mel Slawik and other officials as they discussed what they might do with the property that was deeded to the county in 1974 through a Court of Chancery ruling.
“It was empty, vacant, in shambles,” Boulden says. “It was probably getting ready to fall down around itself.” Boulden wasn’t a decision-maker at the time, but he had a good ear. “There must have been a hundred ideas.”
Might it become a county conference center, like the state-owned Buena Vista, another historic 19th-century mansion south of New Castle? Could it be an official residence for the county executive, like Woodburn, the governor’s residence in Dover? Perhaps Rockwood could serve as an office annex for the young but growing county government, then cramped in a wing of the Public Building on Rodney Square, with its Planning and Public Works departments housed in separate quarters on Kirkwood Highway.