Bear is an unincorporated, suburban community and census-designated place located in New Castle County, Delaware. As of the 2000 census, the community had a total population of 17,593.
Originally a small crossroads in a rural area south of Wilmington, Delaware, the area supported small farms growing mainly corn and cattle. In the late 1980s and 1990s Bear became a popular location for the construction of sprawling housing developments and shopping malls along US Route 40. Bear is not an incorporated municipality or strictly delineated area in the county, but instead a general reference to the collection of communities in the US ZIP codes 19701-19702.
According to common legend, the name "Bear" originated from a tavern located along the roadway from Wilmington to Dover, Delaware (at the intersection now formed by US 40 and State Route 7), whose sign was decorated with the image of a large bear.
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