For generations, Parker’s Dairy Palace has been a go-to place for cool summer treats and a familiar eye-catching sight for passers by on 141 near New Castle.
Now the iconic 1950’s ice cream stand can officially claim to have made history: the cone-covered drive-up has been included on the National Register of Historic Places, the U.S. government’s list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation.
Situated just across from the Wilmington Airport, the Dairy Palace started life in 1954 as a Dairy Queen franchise licensed to Ernest Overby. In 1956, it was acquired by Vince and Joyce Parker and has remained a family enterprise ever since.
After learning that Dairy Queen corporate officials wanted to modernize their existing buildings, the Parkers chose to purchase their franchised property in 1970 with an eye toward preserving its original appearance.
Parker’s Dairy Palace National Register nomination, listed on Oct. 15, 2019, was prepared by the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and Design. Funding for this preservation project was provided by the National Park Service through a Historic Preservation Fund sub-grant awarded to a Certified Local Government (New Castle County) and managed by the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office.
The nomination was recommended for listing in the National Register by the New Castle County Historic Review Board and Delaware’s State Review Board for Historic Preservation, and then forwarded to National Park Service which approved the listing.