History of Rehoboth Beach

    Whether you are looking to relocate, purchase a second home or retirement pad, Rehoboth Beach not only has a lot to offer in the present, but also boasts of quite a charming history. Perhaps you have lived in this area for quite some time, but never got the opportunity to read up of how it got a start. Let us introduce you to a brief overview of this beautiful beach town’s history.


    Long before development, Rehoboth was inhabited by Native Americans. They often visited in the summer months because of the cooler temperatures and seafood. In 1650 and 1670 a few English and Dutch settlers lived in the area as well. This area began to see real change and the start of what we now consider “Rehoboth” in the 1800’s.  In 1872, after being inspired by time he had spent on the Jersey Shore, Reverend Robert W. Todd from Wilmington, Delaware lead in purchasing 414 acres of land in Rehoboth Beach. He then establish the “Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church” in 1873 as a camp meeting resort. He and his team designed the campgrounds to be somewhat of a fan shape, and we can still see that influence to this day. The name “Rehoboth,” came from a Virginia colony in the 17th century, which had been named by English explorers. It translates from Hebrew, as “broad places.”


    first hotel

    The railroad soon followed this new development, in 1878. Restaurants, businesses and hotels started to develop around the campgrounds. (One of the first hotels is pictured on the right.) By 1881, camp meetings discontinued, but life still flourished in the area. In 1873, Rehoboth’s iconic boardwalk was constructed. Throughout the years it has been destroyed multiple times by storms, and rebuilt after each incident. The last reconstruction was as recent as 1992.  Rehoboth Beach took on many name changes during it’s time of growth. Called “Rehoboth Beach Association” in 1879, it’s name changed a second time to “Cape Henlopen City,” and then changed to “Rehoboth” in 1893.

    The natural process of development ensued with a school being built and Rehoboth’s first mayor being instated in 1903 along with the first beach concessions that we still enjoy to this day. In 1906, the first Town Hall was constructed, and the first paved roads were established in 1927. For one final time, Rehoboth’s name was changed to the “City of Rehoboth Beach,” in 1937.

    Today the population is around 1,300 in Rehoboth. The city itself consists of a 1.6 square mile area. Of that space, 1.2 miles consists of land and the rest is covered in water. The land is consumed with charming and quaint boutiques, shops and restaurants. Homes are sprinkled along the water, providing the most stunning scenery for residents.

    The absolute best part of the feel and environment that this location provides, is it still clings to a traditional and warm feeling founded in its past. Evolving from a spiritual campground to a place of family fun and leisure centered around the healing sounds, smells and experience of the sea, Rehoboth has maintained a very special aura. Then again, don’t take our word for it! Experience it for yourself. Spend some time walking along the same seashore that Native Americans once treaded upon. Listen to the waves crash on the shore and feel your worries fade away as Rev. Robert Todd once did, and enjoy the hotels, leisurely lifestyle and charming shops that were all inspired by the sea.

    Let our Realty Group aid you in making Rehoboth your home. Live by the water and learn to enjoy life once again. The Don Williams Realty Group knows that the history of Rehoboth has helped to create the perfect environment for you and your family to enjoy. We want to make your dreams come true, by assisting you in becoming part of the story of Rehoboth Beach! Call us today at (302) 545-6859.



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