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Dover, DE

Located near the St. Jones River, Dover, Delaware, was founded in the late 1600s and became the state's capital in the late 1700s. Today, Dover is not only the seat of the state government but also one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. As of 2007, Dover was home to more than 35,000 people, as well as a large student and military population. The city is also a popular NASCAR destination, hosting major races every May and September that draw more than 200,000 racing enthusiasts to the area. Though Dover has a lower-than-average median household income ($44,182 as of 2007), the city also boasts a cost of living index ranking well below the national average, which has helped fuel the city's continued growth.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Dover has a very low unemployment rate. Its average salary for jobs is more than $81,000 and median income of households is $143,312.

Some of the leading industries in Dover are manufacturing, retail trade, social assistance, educational services and healthcare. Major employers in the city include State of Delaware, Highway Division and Bayhealth Medical Center Inc.

A significant part of Dover's economy centers around the Delaware state government and the Kent County government. Other primary industries include the United States Military, education, tourism and aerospace manufacturing. Nearly 30 percent of the population works in public administration positions, and another 25 percent works in educational services positions.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

The city has a mostly urban population of 35,811. The city accommodates around 13,357 houses with 12,513 houses occupied. Renters occupy around 5,913 houses and owners occupy about 6,600 houses. The housing density for Dover is 596 houses per square mile, and typical rent for a vacant house is around $850.

The walkability of the city is very good, as grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops and bars are situated roughly one mile from the center of the city; however, a car or some other mode of transport is needed to travel to some parks and libraries.

One of the city's most popular shopping areas, Downtown Dover offers local specialty shops, brick walkways and outdoor garden areas. The site of the city's annual parades, Downtown Dover also includes two historical districts dating back to the Colonial and Victorian eras. Dover Mall is a one-level enclosed mall that is home to 100 retailers and restaurants, as well as an extensive food court and a 14-screen movie theater. Shipyard Shops, located in nearby Wilmington, fronts the Christiana River, and offers a number of brand-name, retail outlet stores.

FOR VISITORS

  • Air Mobility Command Museum: The Air Mobility Command museum is dedicated to the history of the Dover Air Force Base, which served as an important site for secret military operations during World War II. Restored hangars and various fighter planes from World War II and the 1950s through the 1970s make up the aviation museum's permanent collection.
  • Biggs Museum of American Art: Located in the Delaware State Visitors Center in Downtown Dover, the Biggs Museum of American Art showcases the donated collection of Dover resident and art enthusiast Sewell C. Biggs. The collection includes 18th-century furniture, rare sculptures, Impressionist paintings and Hudson River Valley School landscapes.
  • Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge: Encompassing 15,000 acres, the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 in neighboring Smyrna, Delaware. The refuge is home to one of the largest tidal salt marshes in the United States and has long served as a resting stop for migratory birds, such as snow geese.
  • Delaware State Police Museum: With artifacts dating from the early 20th century, the Delaware State Police Museum traces the history of the state police force, with weapons, uniforms, patrol cars, motorcycles and other historical exhibits.
  • Dover Downs & Dover International Speedway: The Dover Downs includes a nicotine-free slots casino with more than 2,500 coin-operated slot machines, as well as the Dover International Speedway, which hosts two major NASCAR events every May and September and a variety of other minor races from April through October of every year.
  • John Dickinson Plantation: A national historical landmark, the plantation includes the mansion, outbuildings and grounds of the childhood home of John Dickinson, a Delaware statesman who helped write the U.S. Constitution and also served as one of its signers.
  • Museum of Small Town Life: Located in a 19th-century Presbyterian church building, the museum recreates small-town life from the late 1880s, replete with authentic store fronts, including a print shop, pharmacy, post office and general store, all of which contain furniture and artifacts from that period.
  • Schwartz Center for the Arts: A renovated, turn-of-the-century opera house, the Schwartz Center hosts a variety of live theatrical and musical performances, film screenings and special events. The center is also the home of the Dover Symphony Orchestra.

EVENTS

Old Dover Days: A popular local tradition for more than 75 years, the Old Dover Days festival is held in the city's historic downtown Green Square and Legislative Mall. The festival draws more than 15,000 attendees every year and includes a variety of outdoor events from citywide parades and historical reenactments to live music, regional cuisine and maypole dancing.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

While Dover does not have any major or minor league athletic team, the city has two active and diverse college athletic programs with the Wesley College Wolverines and the Delaware State Hornets, which are NCAA Division III and Division I, respectively.

EDUCATION

  • Delaware State University enrolls more than 2,600 students annually, offering bachelor's and master's degree programs.
  • Wesley College, a private, not-for-profit, four-year institution, has a full-time enrollment of nearly 1,500 students.

Other colleges and universities located within 30 miles of Dover include:

  • Delaware Technical and Community College
  • Wilmington College
  • The University of Delaware

LOCAL MEDIA

Dover is served by the weekly Dover Post and the daily Delaware State News, which covers Delaware's counties of Kent, Sussex, Queen's Anne, Carolina and New Castle.

Dover is also home to the 1410 WDOV, an AM news, talk and sports radio station. The city receives television and radio station broadcasts from the Philadelphia metropolitan market and other surrounding cities as well.