Brandywine Hills is a community of approximately 260 custom built homes, located in a wooded area of north Wilmington. The community stretches between Lea Boulevard and Rockwood Road, Miller Road, and Market Street. The very first houses were built in the 1930's and new houses are still being built today in the neighborhood. The streets, named for American and English authors, such as Byron and Hawthorne, are lined with stone and brick homes, characterized by exceptional craftsmanship and architectural diversity. A culturally and racially diverse neighborhood, Brandywine Hills was described in a Wilmington News Journal article as a neighborhood that straddles two worlds, walking the line between urban convenience and suburban ambience. As residents August and Kathryn Hazeur describe it, "We're in the city, so we enjoy all the perks of city dwellers, but this area also enables us to enjoy the advantages of suburbia."
This is truly a special place to live, where residents enjoy the quiet of nature and the convenience of the city; where neighbors care about each other, but respect each other's privacy; and, where a whole range of races, religions, nationalities, occupations, and backgrounds enjoy the diversity of their community. The neighborhood has direct access to the Delaware greenway and a defining feature is the Matson Run Creek and the heavily wooded rolling terrain.
Brandywine Hills is home to two of Wilmington’s most treasured cultural institutions, the Wilmington drama League and the Wilmington Music School, and right next door is the Rockwood Museum and Park.
A strong community association provides support for maintaining the continuity of appearance and character of the neighborhood. Pride is evident in the care taken of the homes and yards, and the variety of architecture provides interest. The community participates in a variety of activities throughout the year, including a picnic and Halloween parade each fall. Deed restrictions require approval by the Association’s Property Committee for any major property changes. Fences must be approved and the lack of fences allows everyone to appreciate the landscaped yards and open terrain. Residents are very active in beautification efforts, including a yearly cleanup of the Matson Run stream and park area.
The Association has an active Executive Committee and Board and holds general meetings quarterly on the fourth Thursdays of January, April, July, and October in the conference room of the Riverside Medical Arts Complex. We have a variety of committees, including the Property Committee, the Group Home Committee to provide support and connect with our neighborhood group home, Neighborhood Beautification, Neighborhood Watch, and Welcome Baskets. Our active committees and the energy of individuals have made a positive difference in our neighborhood.
The earliest records the Association has are of our "Deed Containing Restrictions, Easements, Covenants, Conditions, Etc. relating to Brandywine Hills, Wilmington Delaware." This Deed was made on the 19th day of September, 1933, by and between Brandywine Hills Incorporated, a corporation of the State of Delaware, and Charles W. Gooding, Jr., of the City of Wilmington, New Castle County. The first record of activity on the part of our Community Association is in a letter, May 22, 1944, to property owners asking that they approve a deed change allowing Packard Motor Company to build a large automobile showroom on the Northwest corner of Market Street and Lea Blvd. The author of the letter, H. P. Corson, President, comments that the sale would benefit Brandywine Hills, Inc., because the corporation’s assets consist “essentially of vacant land completely frozen for nearly three years.” The sale would furnish substantial cash and “keep the corporation in good standing through the war period.”
There are letters and newspaper articles about the Wanamaker Department store trying to get a permit to build a store at 38th Street, Matson Run Parkway, and Lea Blvd. The majority of the articles and letters are dated August through November 1947. The Ninth Ward Owners Association, of which our Community Association was a member, opposed the site. C.C. Gerow was the Chairman and our President, H. P. Corson, was the Chairman of the Zoning Committee. As many of us know, the Wanamaker Department Store was not built on this site, but was built at the Augustine Cut-off location. It is also noted in a letter of November 20, 1947, that Mr. Gooding was forced to relinquish all control of the tract and a planned program was needed, with publicity, to promote Brandywine Hills as a good location for a home.
The next bit of information is a Morning News clip dated 12/22/48 and titled Ranch Homes Planned For Brandywine Hills. The article announced a buyer for approximately four acres. At least a dozen $25,000 ranch houses were to be constructed. The plot, called section F, was bounded by Rockwood Rd., Miller Rd., and Matson Run Pkwy. Representatives of Harry H. Rosin Company, 836 Tatnall Street, were the selling agents for the Philadelphia interests that owned the plot. This was published in the newspaper because the seller requested an extension of the City sewer lines to the plots where the building was to occur.
These are just a few interesting bits of history from our neighborhood, but the most important fact is our history of a continuously active Community Association and neighborhood residents who care about Brandywine Hills, the City of Wilmington, and the greater community around us.