LOOKING AROUND DELAWARE
To Delawareans Rehoboth is much more than an ocean beach in southwestern Sussex County, it is an institution. The first breath of Spring the duPont Highway, now spanning the entire length of the state, is loaded with motorists hurrying to the premier seaside resort, with it's broad sands and boardwalk . This keeps on until well after the falls Labor Day holiday. Rehoboth is unique in the closeness of pine forest to the ocean beach. Balsom scents and the salt air give a healthful tang to the air.
Rehoboth is a Biblical name, meaning “wide open space”, and was the name given in 1689 to the Hundred in which it lies. Not far from Rehoboth is Lewes, the first town in the first state and the site of an early Dutch settlement.
Travel to Rehoboth was known to be difficult which prevented development. It was not until 1855 the the state legislative assembly granted five acres of the state lying between lands of Robert West and Indian River Inlet, and incorporated “The Rehoboth Hotel Company” to build a hotel within five years. This was not done but in March of 1875 the renewed charted of the “Sussex Hotel of Rehoboth City” saw development of cottages and hotels.
A mile north lay the Methodist Rehoboth Association of 1871, where several hundred acres for a camp meeting and resort were layed out into building lots, cottages and hotels followed, with a name change to “Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church”. The Camp Meeting feature discontinued in 1881. 1878 the Queen Ann Railroad of Maryland Delaware & Virginia came and the sea coast resort boomed.
There was a short period of depression to the resort when the rail road and the westershore ferry to Baltimore failed, however, new modern roadways and advanced models of the automobile brought new life. Patronage of Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington folk brought it to popularity as “The Nations Capital” , a rendezvous for the Washington, D.C. diplomatic corps.
Hunters and fishermen also make the region their mecca, boating on the near by lakes and bays,
a fine golf course attract followers.
The Wilmington Morning News, Tuesday, December 24, 1935. Looking Around Delaware.