Delaware Public Media

History Matters

History Matters: How the pumpkin became popular

Oct 27, 2017
Cindy Ott

It’s that time of year again – the time for hayrides, pumpkin patches, and pumpkin carving. But among the pumpkin frenzy, not much thought is typically given to the history of the pumpkin itself.

University of Delaware Professor of History and Material Culture Cindy Ott delved into the pumpkin’s complicated past for her book, Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon.


For this month’s History Matters, produced in conjunction with the Delaware Historical Society, Delaware Public Media’s Megan Pauly sat down with her to discuss how the pumpkin’s image has shifted over the years from a vegetable of last resort to the pie of preference in many homes for Thanksgiving dinner.


History Matters: Historic home makes Airbnb debut

Sep 29, 2017
Megan Pauly / Delaware Public Media

Many people are likely aware of Airbnb: providing travelers the option to rent a room in someone else’s home – or guesthouse – as opposed to staying in a hotel or traditional bed and breakfast. It’s a popular option across the country, and in the First State.


One Wilmington home listed on Airbnb is also on the National Register of Historic Places – and likely one of the oldest homes remaining in the city, built around 1745. It’s undergone several transformations over the years, but was largely restored to its original state in the 1970s. In 1990, it made the cover of Early American Life magazine.


Last December, the West Center City home was purchased by Jan and Dave Almquist for $99,000. Before putting it on Airbnb this March, they made about $50,000 worth of upgrades.


Delaware Public Media’s Megan Pauly spoke with Jan about the home, and its historical significance.

New Castle Court House Museum

The New Castle Court House Museum is kicking off a brand new exhibit Saturday. It’s called “New Castle: Three Forts, One Community.”

Megan Pauly / Delaware Public Media

A number of historic buildings – from the Thomas England House, to Summerton Mansion in Middletown – have been demolished in recent months.


Historic preservation advocates are rallying to change that, and nonprofit Preservation Delaware is willing to help organize such efforts in the First State.

Delaware Public Media’s Megan Pauly sat down with the group’s Executive Director James Hanby.

History Matters: 'Bop Cop' Lem Winchester

Jun 23, 2017

Last week, History Matters - produced in collaboration with the Delaware Historical Society - looked at the legacy of Wilmington’s renowned jazz teacher Robert “Boysie” Lowery.

Our jazz in Wilmington series continues this week with a glimpse into the complex life of one of Lowery’s students – and one of Wilmington’s most widely received jazz musician: vibraphonist Lem Winchester.

James Baker Gen. Amer. Music Collection / Delaware Historical Society

Wilmington’s Clifford Brown Jazz Festival returns next week, starting up Wednesday and running through Friday.


And while Clifford Brown is Wilmington’s most celebrated jazz musician, not much is known about his teacher Robert “Boysie” Lowery who taught so many jazz musicians – locally and beyond.


Several of his students are still around and still playing jazz in Wilmington, and have much to say about Lowery the teacher, the man and his legacy.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / New York Public Library Digital Collections

Summer is the time many families hit the road - heading to the beach and elsewhere.


But many vacation destinations like Rehoboth Beach weren’t always a welcome place for African Americans. And simply traveling on the open road during the segregation era wasn’t very safe for them.


But there was a booklet of safe havens created specifically for African American travelers – called The Negro Motorist Green Book - to help guide them.


Megan Pauly examines the book and its First State connections in History Matter, produced in collaboration with the Delaware Historical Society.

Henry Szymanski Collection / Delaware Historical Society

March’s History Matters featured an image of Estella’s Beauty Shop on Wilmington's East Side from 1939.  Here in April, we focus on the man behind that photo and hundreds of others and the memories they evoke.



Delaware Historical Society

Every month – the Delaware Historical Society picks an item from their collection to highlight.

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