State Welfare Old Age Infirmary – Smyrna DE


The PWA conducted unspecified work at the State Welfare Old Age Infirmary, now the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill. The state legislature appropriated $50,000 to the infirmary in 1935, potentially as matching funds for PWA work.

From Delaware: A Guide to the First State: “The State Welfare Home …, a prominent group of brick buildings in neo-Colonial style, was opened in 1933 to take the place of the almshouses in the three counties of Delaware. Planned to permit the addition of more buildings, the plant cost $590,000 as developed up to 1937. In 1936 there were 372 “guests” averaging 61 years of age; 38 percent were Negroes for whom certain floors are reserved. Maintenance averages $1 per day. The Welfare Home, supported by the three counties, is administered by the State Old Age Welfare Commission set up by the Legislature in 1931. The Commission also administers the Old Age Pension Fund authorized at the same time. In 1929 Alfred I. du Pont, powdermaker, financier, and philanthropist, set up a private fund from which pensions for two years were paid to about 1,100 persons over 65. After studying European pension systems he presented to the Legislature in 1931 a bill which became the law providing the combination of a pension system and the Welfare Home. In 1937 the Delaware plan was approved under the Federal Social Security Act, and an equal Federal appropriation now doubles the funds and the number of persons benefited, who now total about 3,500.”

Source notes

National Archives Record Group 135-SAR, Del. 1009-R

Federal Writer's Project, Delaware: A Guide to the First State, Somerset Publishers (1938), p. 350

105th Delaware General Assembly, Chapter 69, Appropriations, April 18, 1935

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on October 9, 2016.

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Location Info

100 Sunnyside Rd
Smyrna, DE 19977

Coordinates: 39.290931, -75.600761

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