At 100 years old, Beebe Healthcare celebrates it past while planning its future

By Pam George

Nurse Checking Young PatientIn 1916, health care in Sussex County was primarily limited to a handful of doctors — most of them in Lewes — as well as druggists and home remedies. The roads were poor, and getting to the 12-bed Milford Emergency Hospital, let alone Delaware Hospital in Wilmington, was an arduous journey. That year, two young doctors made it their mission to bring modern health care to their hometown of Lewes.

Inspired by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Dr. James Beebe Sr. and his younger brother, Dr. Richard C. Beebe, opened Beebe Hospital with three beds and an operating room. Both graduates of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, they moved their office (a wood-frame building) onto land owned by their father, a jack-of-all trades who built a white concrete-block addition to the office, using a machine purchased from Sears & Roebuck. (Many houses on Kings Highway and others near the hospital are made of similar blocks with the distinctive rock-like face.)

One hundred years later, the once-modest institution has blossomed into a community health system with a hospital licensed for 210 beds on the verge of a major expansion, the only nursing school in Delaware directly affiliated with a hospital, a cancer center, four walk-in care sites, and a host of complementary services in more than 30 different locations throughout southern Delaware.

Modern outdoor kitchens take open-air cooking to a whole new level

By Lynn R. Parks

Outdoor Kitchens PictureWhen Fran O’Brien and David Gifford moved from New Jersey to the Rehoboth Beach area, they knew they didn’t want much of a lawn. So when they had their new home designed in the Sawgrass South development, a large portion of the backyard, closest to the house, was set aside for a patio.

And that patio, from the time of its inception, was to be the site of an outdoor cooking and sitting area.

“This is a beach community and we want to be able to be outside and entertain outside as much as possible,” O’Brien explains.

Earlier this spring, their outdoor kitchen was under construction. Gifford, the cook in the family, was eagerly awaiting its completion, including the installation of a gas grill.

“There are just certain things that taste better cooked on the grill: fish, steaks, pork chops, vegetables,” he said then. “Even during the winter, I like to cook outside.”

On a quiet stretch of Bethany Beach, female artillery crews made some noise — and top-secret history — during World War II

By George W. Contant and Krystin M. Contant Piston
From the June 2016 issue

BatteryX Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #84Even in 2016, the idea of women going into combat remains an uncomfortable one for many Americans. But history tells us that women have participated in wars for centuries — sometimes accidentally, often purposely — and have acquitted themselves well. From Celtic Queen Boudicca battling Nero’s forces in the first century A.D. to Russian and British women fiercely standing up to the Nazi onslaught, an axiom of nature has repeatedly been underscored during wartime: Do not get between a mother bear and her cubs.

The bravery of those female European fighters during World War II was not lost on two high-powered Americans of that era, whose influence would redefine the role of U.S. women in service to their country — and lead to a little-known experiment in warfare training at Bethany Beach in 1943.

One of those two Americans was U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall, who faced a desperate need for men in overseas duty because so many were being siphoned off for support positions stateside and elsewhere. The forward-thinking Marshall saw America’s vast pool of women as part of the answer, but there was pushback: The majority of soldiers, politicians and the public at large were against women in military service, and were absolutely appalled at the idea of them in combat. Nonetheless, after much wrangling with a reluctant Congress, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was established in May 1942. Technically, the WAAC did not constitute military service, but Marshall could see that day was coming.