The land west of Concord Pike was mostly farmland through the 1800s. The area that is now Tavistock was once part of two farms belonging to George Hornby and William Wilson. Delaware industrialist William Poole Bancroft, a visionary city planner, conservationist, and philanthropist, bought the two farms in the 1890s.
Bancroft went on to found Woodlawn Trustees in 1901 with the threefold purpose of preserving land along the Brandywine River; responsibly developing his landholdings on the west side of the Concord Pike; and creating affordable urban housing in Wilmington.
Woodlawn Trustees began developing Tavistock in the late 1960s, starting with Tavistock I, the area closer to Mt. Lebanon Road in 1968. Development of Tavistock II, the area closer to Garden of Eden Road, began in 1972. Tavistock is a sister community to Alapocas, Woodbrook, Sharpley, and the Edenridges – all developed by the Woodlawn Trustees.
The Tavistock Civic Association was organized in February and March of 1973. The first social event was a block party in October 1973.
North from Wilmington by Oulde Roads and Turnpikes, by Nancy Churchman Sawin and Barbara McEwing.
Neighbors of the Wilmington – Great Valley Turnpike, by Barbara McEwing. (The “turnpike” is now known as the Concord Pike.)
These illustrated books provide historical detail about the area. They can be found in Delaware’s libraries and online.
William Poole Bancroft (photograph courtesy of the Delaware Historical Society)