Begin Main Content Area

History​ of White Clay Creek Preserve

White Clay Creek Preserve, including the Big Elk Creek Section, is part of a larger tract of land sold to William Penn in 1683 by the Lenape chief of this territory. It is thought that this chief, variously identified as Chief Kekkelopen or Machaloha, lived in a settlement within what is now the White Clay Creek Section of the Preserve. The settlement/village is identified by early colonial settlers as Opasiskunk or Minguannan. Historical documentation indicates the Lenape village survived into the early 18th century, although its exact location is unknown.

Built during 1729, the London Tract Baptist Meetinghouse is at the intersection of Sharpless and London Tract roads. In its stone-walled cemetery rest many of the area’s earliest settlers including Dr. David Eaton, whose home across the street in the preserve, is a classic example of a double door Pennsylvania stone farmhouse.

Two further points of interest are the tri-state Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Arc Corner monuments marking historical points along the Mason-Dixon Line.

During 1984, the DuPont Company donated land to Pennsylvania and Delaware for the purpose of preserving the diverse and unique plant and animal species, and the rich cultural heritage of the area.

Today, these lands form the bi-state White Clay Creek Preserve -- the only land designated as a preserve in DCNR's Bureau of State Parks.

Because White Clay Creek posses outstanding scenic, wildlife, recreational, and cultural value, it has been designated by Congress as a National Wild and Scenic River, and shall be preserved in free-flowing condition for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Geologic Guide

Detailed information about the geology of the area is available from the:

Trail of Geology 20 -- White Clay Creek Preserve Guide (PDF)