1936 Wilmington News Journal
Charles Alfred Rudolph, age 70, Wilmington Jeweler.
About 1870, Mr. Rudolph recalled, much of what is now Reboboth Beach , was farm and woodland, purchased by The Rehoboth Campmeeting Association, laid our in lots purchased by Delaware residents and persons living in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
When the sale of lots was going good, the promoters treasury flush, lots were graded, that is top soil removed , there were many Indian relics found. He remembers J. Morton Poole, of Wilmington, bent low, going over these spots, picking up arrowheads and relics.
The avenues and lots were marked by wood stakes, trees were cut and piled to the center of the streets to clear the way. When money ran short, the clearing of the woods was abandoned. And the piles of felled trees remained in the middle of the avenues in huge piles. He, being one of the ten or twelve boys who vacationed here roamed all over the place, playing in the piles of felled trees, one day decided to rid their playland of the obstructions, set a fire at each pile, then left in a hurry.
When the got back to the hotel, they could see much smoke above the tree tops and that the guest were alarmed , thinking Lewes was burning. The Lewes people, it turn, thought Rehoboth was afire. People were running in all directions.
The superintendent of property, Morris Lamborn, gathered a posse, gathering whatever implements were at hand, and kept the fire to the section it started in. The 'boys' went along to help. Brisk winds from the northeast were blowing and the smoke drifted into the Grove, where the campmeeting was in progress which brokeup quickly.
A notice was posted by William Bright, the president, seeking information but no one knew for several years who the guilty ones were. It was decided that the incident saved the association much money by clearing the area and no problem came of it.
Rehoboth lent itself to other pranks as there were no police, it stood off by itself. The first hotel did not escape the attention of pranksters. That was the Surf Hotel. It stood between a small pond and the ocean, where the Henlpen is today. A long barn of a building. Three stories with an attic. It had a porch on either side and pillars to the roof. The halls ran full length of the building and room doors opened into the hall. It was custom to place your shoes in the hall to be shined each night. One night the 'boys' changed up the shoes, leaving 'odds', tied the doors together with clothesline. Seems the 'boys' at that time had a good time.