Wednesday, January 25, 2017

HYGENIA HOUSE AT COLLINS BEACH ON DELAWARE BAY



INTERESTING PLACES ON THE DELAWARE BAY

COLLINS BEACH

Collins Beach, located on the Delaware Bay at or near Smyrna Creek just above Bakeoven Point at the Kent and New Castle county line, a strip of sand in a large marsh, probably accessible only by sidewheel steamer, a popular , fishing, bathing and picnic center, until the great 1878 hurricane which swept over it and left no more than a strip of sand, and Cedar Swamp.

There was a hotel, The Hygenia House, forty rooms in a four story wood frame structure, built by George Collins in 1850 whose son George, Jr., was the first proprietor.

A pier was built in 1856 for the sidewheel steamer “Helen Getty”
which was called the “Helen Forget Us” by the summer visitors. This pier was destroyed the very winter after being built, by an ice pack which carried it away, being the first of a long line of disasters for the beach. Young George had several successors during the Civil War and his brother, Frank, eventually took over the property and ran it until the 1878 storm. He built another pier and a stone jetty in an effort to stop the bay from washing the beach away, however, a tidal wave of a 1887 hurricane carried away everything except the hotel, which was left on an island accessible only by a man made causeway which washed away in any storm had. Any attempt to operate the hotel failed and the building fell into a pathetic sight.
The waters of the bay crept closer to the hotel and in 1904, when the bay was but 50 feet away, the owners moved the old structure to Woodland Beach.

Source: Smyrna Times “Know Your Community” March 19 1947.

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