Delaware Public Media

Church, house and cemetary at Bellevue show Delaware history

Nov 21, 2018

State officials dedicated a new historical marker for the Mount Pleasant Meeting House at Bellevue State Park this week.

The Mount Pleasant Meeting House is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1838 and used as a secular meeting house before becoming a religious space. Both it and an accompanying parsonage are commemorated on the new historical marker.

State Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-Bellefonte) helped fund the project. She points to its educational value.

“It brings a link to the past for people that are living in Delaware today. I think it’s so important for our history to be remembered,” said Heffernan.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance. Wilma Yu of the Friends of Bellevue says the compound tells other stories as well.

“Many of the markers in the cemetery tell about the families who lived here,” said Yu. “We saw where plagues, the flu epidemic decimated the area. And we see that in the changes of the church records.”

Yu says the next step in restoring the site will be the stained glass windows in the meetinghouse.

The Delaware Public Archives administers the state’s historical markers program.

“We are able to identify and celebrate parts of history that aren’t told as often— the lesser-known parts, but parts that are no less important,” said Delaware Public Archives Deputy Director Sarah Denison.

Denison says there are upwards of 670 historical markers across the state.

She encourages citizens to submit recommendations for new historical markers.

“Historic people, historic places, houses of worship. Really, all corners of Delaware history,” said Denison.

The Archives accepts these on a rolling basis, and helps coordinate funding for projects.

Restoration of the meeting house, parsonage and cemetery has been coordinated over the years by several groups, including the Friends of Bellevue, DNREC and the Church of Christ, according to state officials.