Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Broadkill Bridge 1910

Date: December 1990

Newspaper published in: Milton, Delaware

Source: Collection of Bill Wagamon & Wanda King/Milton Historical Society

Broadkill Beach, Delaware

As late as 1908 or 1910, visitors to Broadkill Beach had to cross Deep Hole Creek at a footbridge. Every member of the family had to portage the provisions by foot and hand. *Since there were no government stimulus plans, local men had to plan and construct this project*. The Milton area men who volunteered the time and materials were J. Leon Black, Charles Waples, Robert and Morris Black, Joe Robbins, Dick White and Charlie Thackeray. No doubt there were others involved but their names did not survive.
Deep Hole Creek was at this time 600 feet wide and the four foot wide wooden bridge was built using log pilings as its base. On the west side of the bridge were several structures which provided accommodations for their automobiles or horses, while the first building across the creek was the store of Mrs. Barker, which had a boardwalk to the creek so boaters could access the store. Mrs Barker was the mother of Charles and Howard, *Charles at one time being a longtime mayor of Milton. Still with us this year of 2009 is her grandson, Clarence Barker who holds post office box number 2 at the Milton Post Office, an oldtimer for sure*.
Also from the boardwalk at Barkers Store. Captain Dave Dutton operated his motor launch, fueled by 'naphtha', and ran excursions out into the bay.
When you left the Barker's place, going toward the beach and bay, you passed S. J. Wilson's cottage that for some reason was called the 'anchor cottage', perhaps because it was a starting point for other cottage owners trips to their beach houses. In front of this small structure was a water pump that allowed folks to wash their sandy feet with fairly clean water. From here to Mr. Wilson's beach front house there was a cement walk.
Along the creek side there were at least fourteen cottages and back to, fronting the bay, were a like amount. The owners in the 1930's of some of these cottages were Joseph Hearn, Dr. John Wiltbank, Leon Black, Davis Lingo, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Fithian, Charles Thackeray, Dick White and Jim Jester. Erosion, after construction of the new inlet and jetty, caused these bay front places to be moved back and after this all construction was to the south of the bridge. *To the north there was the Halstead Layton hunting lodge. Layton's daughter later married Sam Burke, colorful Georgetown lawyer, who recently owned the property*.
It was not until 1932 that a bridge was built to allow vehicles to cross over to Broadkill Beach from the mainland side.

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