Union Park Gardens, in Wilmington, Delaware, is an insiders "secret" hidden in plain sight, but within walking distance of numerous restaurants and pubs in "Little Italy" and minutes from sophisticated restaurants and fun places on the Riverfront.
Not many realize that it is one of a number of turn of the 20th Century versions of the English Garden Suburb movement built in this country. Rather than building standard rigid row houses, it was designed to be reminiscent of a village. Houses were built of slightly different sizes, styles, and materials. Architects Ballinger and Perrot and town planner John Nolen planned 500 homes on a 50 acre site convenient to trolley lines.
And what was the impetus for all this housing? It was WWI, the shipbuilding industry in Wilmington, and workers flocking to the jobs created by all this industry. Ground was broken on June 25, 1918, and completion was September of the next year. At this time, all homes were rented from the developer, the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation. Above are scenes along South Bancroft Parkway, the main north-south street, which still has the parkway or common space running down the center. Since the homes were all sold at an auction in 1933, they have been privately owned. Union Park Gardens is popular for first time homebuyers, or anyone who is looking for a close-knit community within walking distance of restaurants, pubs, and great home-made Italian water ice. And there are some very nice gardens here in "The Gardens of Union Park."