Coastal Sussex County is rich with history. From the “First Town in the First State”, Lewes, in the north, through the Nation’s Summer Capital—Rehoboth- to Fenwick Island in the south- there are surprising things to learn and appreciate around every corner and down every country road.
Delaware Housing Developments
History of Coastal Delaware
The first settlement in Delaware was at Lewes in 1631, more than 375 years ago. Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island to the south were founded in the late nineteenth century as a Methodist Meeting Camps. Just inland from Bethany Beach are the wonderful small towns of Ocean View, Millville, Selbyville and Dagsboro, each with unique and colorful past.
Rehoboth Beach was officially founded in 1891, survived the great “Five High Tides Storm” of 1962, and is now know as the Nation’s Summer Capital because of all the DC Staffers who make it to the beach during the warm summer months. Rehoboth Beach maintains its charm and is famed for its mile-long boardwalk featuring businesses like Dolle’s Taffy and Grotto’s Pizza.
Just a few miles south of the Indian River Inlet is Bethany Beach. Guarded by it’s famous totem pole, Bethany Beach received its name in a contest that saw the victor win and oceanfront lot. Even further south is Fenwick Island, located between the ocean and the bay on the Maryland state line.
All the coastal Delaware towns are connected by US Highway 1 also known as the Coastal Highway as well as an inland waterway known as the Canal. Located on the west side of Highway 1, the Canal was originally constructed to help farmers reach northern markets located in Rehoboth Beach and Lewes. Today the Canal allows pleasure boaters and kayakers to explore quiet bays and serene woodlands.
From a small Dutch whaling colony in the early seventeenth century to hundreds of thousands of visitors on a given summer weekend, the coastal communities that line Delaware’s shore have and extraordinary heritage that can indeed be found- from Fenwick to Lewes- in local museums, highway markers commemorating important events and persons that made our community what it is and historic sites that make over 375 years of history come alive.