first European settlement in Delaware was established in 1631 by Dutch
colonists, but it wasn’t until 1775 when the actual boundaries of
Sussex County were firmly established.
Sussex County government lacked a central location, and this inconvenience
prompted county residents to petition the general assembly to move the
County Seat to a central location.
The middle of the county was vast, wooded and largely unsettled, but legislators
selected 10 commissioners to purchase land and build the necessary infrastructure
to run county government. The commissioners, led by George Mitchell -
President of the State Senate, negotiated the purchase of 76 acres of
land owned by James Pettyjohn.
Georgetown, named for George Mitchell, was founded and incorporated in
1791, and lots were laid out and sold to recoup the state’s investment.
The town was laid out in a circle one mile across, centered on the original
square surveyed by the commission.
The Circle is now listed in the National Historic Record, and is surrounded
by various styles of architecture.