COASTAL BEACH SQUATTERS
REHOBOTH TO OCEAN VIEW
Friday, March 11, 1938, taking a drive down to Rehoboth and from there over to Ocean View on the black macadam Ocean Boulevard , it is surprising to see the building activity on both sides of the road. You notice many out of state automobiles out in the fields and marsh. There is at least one very expensive looking log cabin going up.
At one place there were eight Maryland men erecting a building, a shed type structure. Another place, with five or six men, there was a very pretty log cabin going up.
These men will tell you there is no other prettier spot and the land is free. The beach land is owned by the State of Delaware, and those living there receive a notice once a year to vacate the property, but it is disregarded. They do not pay any tax.
Why should others of us struggle to make tax payments, pay for the unemployed on relief, and these squatters come , tax free. To encourage development of the state lands is a good thing but who can state officials allow that ground to be used free?
Next, these squatters overdo it. They set signs “No Trespass”, “Keep Out” and “Private”. The State Highway Department, the custodian of the vacant lands of the beaches, order these signs removed as well as fences, gates and driveway chains with padlocks. They are let know they cannot prevent the public from using freely the sand roads in the dunes. It will be soon that the Delaware people will retaliate and have the highway department ordering the squatters to remove whatever building the have erected thereon.
Many squatters have endeavored to purchase or lease, and obtain permission to locate small cottages on this land but records show the state cannot give them that authority.
Source: Progressive Delawarean, Wilmington, March 9, 1938. The New Journal. Wilmington, March 11, 1938 & March 10, 1938 . Abstract: Harrison Howeth, June 2017.