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Sen. Carper touts First State National Historical Park at renovation announcement

Sen. Tom Carper at the historic Sheriff's House in Old New Castle.
Mark Arehart
Delaware Public Media
Sen. Tom Carper at the historic Sheriff's House in Old New Castle.

The National Park Service announced a $5.4 million plan to renovate Old New Castle’s historic Sheriff’s House.

The house will become the welcome center for the First State National Historical Park.

Built in the 1850s, the Sheriff’s House is the only part of Delaware’s first prison system still standing.

Sen. Tom Carper (D), who long lobbied for a National Park in the First State, said the house will serve as the front door to that park’s various locations throughout the state.

“We want to make sure when people come to Delaware they know the history, we tell them in a way that’s meaningful to them. Keep in mind tourism is a big deal, it’s a big deal in Delaware. A lot of people come here for our beaches. I want to make sure that they come here in the years to come to learn more about our history,” Carper said.

Construction at the Sheriff’s House is expected to take a little over a year.

Restoration includes exterior accessibility improvements, stone repair and a total restoration of the building's interior.

“(Visitors) will have the opportunity to meet with folks from the National Park Service who will explain to them, give them some idea of what people might want to do in Delaware to learn more about our history and the history of our country,” Carper said.

The Sheriff’s House will host visitor services on the main floor and house National Park Service offices above.

Mark Arehart is an award-winning reporter/producer. Before returning to Delaware, Arehart was a reporter for WKSU and Ideastream Public Media in Northeast Ohio. He previously hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He has worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.