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 Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #108If 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.

Something in the Air?

By Roger Hillis
From the Holiday 2014 issue

JeannieMackUFO Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #108When Matt Zelewsky booked a room at Hotel Blue in Lewes to ring in the new year with his wife, they were told their balcony might offer a view of fireworks after the stroke of midnight. At about 12:15 a.m. this past Jan. 1, Zelewsky stepped outside and had a close encounter of the unusual kind.

“There were nine lights flying north of the canal, and they were going east to west,” he says. “They were flying at different speeds and I could tell they weren’t Chinese lanterns or anything like that. It was kind of surreal.”

Though late-night comedians might joke about yokels sighting UFOs in the heartland, a slew of reports from coastal Delaware and surrounding areas offer a different view. 

Sailors had rough conditions, but pleasant reception, during World War 1

By William H.J. Manthorpe Jr.

LB-servingWWI Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #108Editor’s note: Most locals know that the U.S. military was active on Cape Henlopen during World War II, but few may know that its presence there started to grow during World War I. This edited excerpt from “A Century of Service, The U.S. Navy on Cape Henlopen,” by William H.J. Manthorpe Jr., tells about conditions at the military facility called “Naval Section Base, Lewes” in 1918.

Since 1873, the military had land on Cape Henlopen for the purpose of constructing defenses. In 1889, some of that land was used to construct the Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Station and Hospital.

[In 1917, Naval Section Base, Lewes] took over the barracks and other facilities of the former Quarantine Hospital. Those facilities were old and had been unused for several years, and they had not been luxurious to begin with.