Delaware Beaches – Bethany, Dewey and Rehoboth

By | Aug 20, 2008

Bethany Beach was conceived in 1887 as an eastern seaside resort for the Disciples of Christ Church by Dr. F.D. Power. By 1894 there was a site established for summer camp religious retreats. The first town government was formed in 1902.

From its beginnings Bethany Beach has strived to be a family resort community. Because of this it has become one of Delaware’s finest coastal communities. From the early days when the journey to the town was by rail, water and wagon, and continuing with present day’s highway traffic, the visitors well as seasonal residents and retirees have had an urban background.

Dewey Beach was incorporated in 1981 and may be one of the last municipalities incorporated by the State of Delaware but Dewey Beach’s culture spans more than a century. A U.S Life-Savings Station (141) was built in 1879 with a small community built around it. In 1915 the Life Savings Service was renamed the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Rehoboth by the Sea Development Company developed what is now north Dewey Beach beginning in 1855. Then beginning in 1915, Morgan T. Gum developed the southern part of the area basing it on the same grid system as the northern development. At this time the town was named in the honor of Admiral George Dewey.

Reboboth Beach has always been a place where people go to enjoy the cool beach breezes. The Native Americans often traveled there and both the English and Dutch settlers put down roots in the area. In 1873 after visiting a New Jersey church camp, Wilmington’s St Paul’s M.E. Church reverend Robert W. Todd pursued an idea of starting a similar camp on the Delaware cost. The Rehoboth Camp Association formed and purchased 414 acres from area farmers.

With the coming of the railroad and later a paved road, the area became a place where many people traveled to vacation. Many of them were associated with the politics in Washington. Because of this, it was known as the ‘Nation’s Summer Home’.


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