WHAT A walking tour discussing historical women of Dover in and around historical sites
WHEN Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE Tours being at 43 The Green, Dover
INFO Call 739-9194

The Green is a historically significant site for many reasons. The Golden Fleece Tavern, where Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution, once stood on The Green. The Old State House, which was built in 1791 and housed the General Assembly still stands watch over the historic area.

A lot has been said and written about the men that built this city and this state, but what about the women?

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., First State Heritage Park will be giving history buffs the opportunity to learn about the women who have influenced the history of Dover. Women of The Green is a walking tour that will be led by First State Heritage Park historical interpreters in period dress.

"Obviously Dover has had a very long and rich history - over 300 years - particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries," said Elaine Brenchley, project director for First State Heritage Park. "We tend to focus on the men. In fact, there were a lot of women who worked in quiet ways, contributing to the history of Dover and Delaware."

Some of the women that will be highlighted in the 45 minuet tour include Margaret Comegys, who played a integral role in helping to persverve Mount Vernon, the birthplace of Goerge Washington in Virginia. Another woman that is discussed is Elizabeth Battell, who owned The Golden Fleece Tavern and was the hostess at the time of the ratification of the Constitution in 1787.

Mabel Lloyd Ridgely is another historic figure that will be discussed on the tour. Ridgley was an early advocate for the importance of Delaware history.

"She was really instrumental in saving the Old State House," Brenchley said. "There was a time in early 20th century when there was a movement by the General Assembly to tear it down. The building dates back to 1791. She felt it was important to save it for Dover and Delaware history. She almost single handedly fought to save it."

Ridgley was also worked to found the Delaware State Archives and fought for women's right to vote.

"Dover itself, because it was home of the General Assembly was the scene of a lot of rallies and argument for and against women's right to vote. The women of Dover had far reaching effects."

Ridgley's story will be told at the Century Club on the green. Other buildings featured on the tour include the site of The Golden Fleece Tavern, the Ridgley House and the John M. Clayton House. Tours will begin at the John Bell House at 43 The Green.

"The same is true for this tour as it is for history in general. It's very easy to forget what has happened," Brenchly said. "Not only has it had an effect on where we are, but there are also lots of lessons to learn from the past. For local residents who take the tour it increases pride in the community when they realize all the important things that happened and important people who lived here."

The Women of the Green walking tour is just one of severa special interest tours that First State Heritage Park conducts each Saturday. The Women of The Green tour is given about once a month. Other tours include Dover's Heroes of the Revolution, Tales of Slavery and Freedom and Dover Divided: The Civil War, all three of which will be given on July 4. The flagship tour at First State Heritage Park is Stories of The Green, which is offered daily.

If the weather does not permit walking through the green the stories of the women who were an integral part of Delaware's history will be told inside the John Bell House.