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Location of Georgetown, Delaware

Georgetown is a town located in Sussex County, Delaware. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 4,643. It is the county seat of Sussex County.

Georgetown was founded in 1791 specifically to serve as the new county seat of Sussex County. Previously, the county seat had been in the town of Lewes, located on the Delaware Bay. However, as the population of Sussex County increased, a more central location for the county's government was sought. Georgetown's location, almost in the geographic center of the county, was felt to be ideal for that purpose, and 76 acres (308,000 mē) of farmland was purchased for that purpose in 1791.

Georgetown is unique among Delaware municipalities in that the center of the town is built around a circle, instead of the more traditional parklike square. Straddling "The Circle", as it is unsurprisingly called, is the Town Hall; state and county buildings, including the historic Sussex County Courthouse (built in 1837); lawyers' offices; and banks. This layout is similar to that found in Annapolis, Maryland, except that, unlike in Annapolis, where the State House is the focal point of the circle, the center of Georgetown's circle is a small park with a fountain.

Every two years, Georgetown hosts an unusual event known as "Return Day", a half-day-long parade and festival two days after Election Day. Stemming from the colonial days in which the public would congregate in Georgetown two days after the election to hear the results (because it would take that long to deliver the results to the courthouse by horseback), the winners of that year's political races parade around The Circle in carriages with the losers and the chairs of the county's political parties ceremonially "bury the hatchet" in a tub of sand. The afternoon of Return Day is a holiday for county and state workers in Sussex County, and the event is marked by a traditional oyster feast, much revelry, and, of course, the beginning of the next round of campaigns. Many in Delaware feel that the state's traditionally chummy and staid political climate is due in large part to the Return Day tradition.

Because of Delaware's status as a border state during the Civil War, Georgetown, like all of Sussex County, sent men to fight for both the Union and Confederate sides.

The town is home to a large chicken processing plant owned by Perdue Farms. The plant employs a sizeable number of immigrants from Haiti and Guatemala. Consequently, Georgetown has more of an international flavor to it than one would expect from a Colonial-era town.

Zip Code 19947



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