In the early years of Delaware, this area was known as Briar Hill. It is the highest elevation in the city. Situated facing south and approximately at the center of the existing Courthouse, was the site of the first Delaware County Courthouse. Erected in 1816 at a cost of $8,000, it was a two story brick structure, 38 feet by 40 feet, of the Virginia design. Despite substantial efforts to preserve the Courthouse, over the years it deteriorated, became unsafe to use and was demolished in the spring of 1858. The cornerstone for the present Courthouse was laid in May of 1868 and the building, designed by noted architect Robert N. Jones and costing about $70,000, was ready for occupancy in January of 1870.
The Plum Orchard
During the fall of 1802, Thomas Cellar and his two sons came here from Liberty Township in search of their hogs. Later in life, the younger son wrote a description of the "Delaware plain" as it appeared six years before the founding of the city. Cellar described the location of springs, a salt lick, and the vegetation growing in the area. Stretching from the Courthouse ridge south and east to the river was what Cellar called "the prettiest plum orchard I ever saw". The plum orchard had belonged to native Americans, perhaps the inhabitants of Pluggy's Town, located one quarter mile to the northeast.
On this Arbor Day, April 25, 2008, we the citizens of this city and county, dedicate this plaque and plant this plum tree in honor of the native people who inhabited this land before the arrival of the settlers.