History

The 300 block of Market Street developed as a collection of individually constructed large townhouse-type buildings that by the end of the Civil War were being converted to retail spaces. Retail practice was simultaneously shifting from single specialties and generic dry goods toward the more universal department store that brought together under one roof, multiple “departments” or retail specialties. This reflected national markets developing with railroads but resulted in highly localized department stores that presumably reflected their local and individual regional characteristics.

It was about 1880 when Clement A. Lippincott opened a modest department store at the center of the 300-318 block of N. Market Street called “Lippincott & Co.” Over the years, this dry goods shop expanded from men’s wear to include women’s and children’s clothing, perfumes and powders, and even home wares such as buntings – popular during Wilmington’s “Old Home Week.”

“The thriving Lippincott & Co. business occupied 306-314 N. Market Street for more than 60 years.”

At its peak, the thriving Lippincott & Co. business occupied the contiguous buildings of 306-314 N. Market Street.
“For many years, one of the leading merchandise locations in Wilmington” – Wilmington City Directory, 1940
In 1943, after more than 60 years in business, the business was sold to Eppe’s, another competing dry goods operator in town.
After many years of abandon and neglect, the buildings that made up these historic department store have been give new life. In 2005, Market-Preservation Associates, LLC began acquiring the buildings and planning for the block’s revitalization. After more than four years, a comprehensive interior and exterior renovation of the block was completed and Lincoln Square began to welcome new tenants.

LINCOLN WAS HERE

In 1848, Congressman Abraham Lincoln traveled to Wilmington on his way back to Washington after the Whig National Convention. He and his colleagues addressed members of the Whig political party from a balcony of the Fourth Street Market House, a complex of buildings that stood in the center of 4th Street between Orange and Market at the time. This address, overlooking the intersection of 4th and Market, was the only visit Abraham Lincoln, who was elected the 16th President of the United States in 1860, ever made to Delaware. Lincoln Square is named to honor this event.