Remembering Rehoboth Bay and the boardwalk in the early 20th century

From an oral history by Anne Horn Ballard
From the April 2015 issue

Lookback-april ‘Isn’t It Wonderful?’  - Delaware Beach LifeIf Daddy had the money, [to get to Rehoboth] we would go to Anna­polis and take the Annapolis-Matapeake ferry. But if Daddy didn’t feel as if he could afford that, we would go up to Wilmington and around and down. We would get to Rehoboth and we would say, “Isn’t it wonderful? We only had one flat tire on the way.” I’m guessing [it took] six to eight hours or something like that.

I remember a bathhouse [on the boardwalk]. In fact, I think a couple of times — I don’t know why I would have ever used it, but I think I did. I don’t know why we wouldn’t have gotten dressed in my grandmother’s house, because it was just a half a block from the ocean, but for some reason or another I do remember taking my clothes, hanging them up in the bathhouse, putting on one of those horrible itchy wool bathing suits and going swimming.


Editor’s note: These recollections about old Rehoboth have been excerpted from a 2013 interview with Anne Horn Ballard, conducted by Nancy Alexander as part of a Rehoboth Beach Historical Society oral history project. They have been edited for length and readability. To read the entire transcript or for more information about the oral history project, call the Rehoboth Beach Museum at 227-7310.

Anne Ballard is a granddaughter of Charles Solomon Horn Sr., owner of the famous Horn’s Pavilion built on a pier out from the Rehoboth boardwalk in the early years of the last century, and severely damaged by a storm in January 1914. Ballard’s father was Albert Fritz Egmont Horn, the second of Charles and his wife Anna’s three sons surviving to adulthood. Ballard and her family spent many summers at 10 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth, and even now, at 93 years of age and living in Baltimore, a much-changed Rehoboth is one of her favorite vacation destinations.

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