For an area known for its summertime revelries, gorgeous natural backdrop, and family-friendly atmosphere, Rehoboth Beach’s history is long and fascinating. Learn more about Rehoboth and its intriguing past below!
From Pre-Historic to a Modern Resort Town
As early as 10,000 B.C., it’s estimated that humans inhabited the Rehoboth Beach area, though little evidence remains of their existence due to the development of the area since then. It’s thought that sea levels were lower during that time, with the coast laying approximately thirty miles further east than it is today.
While following the maps of famous explorer John Smith, an unknown English sea captain from Jamestown is credited with rediscovering Rehoboth for the Europeans, giving the region the name Rehoboth from Genesis xxvi: 22 in the Old Testament of the Bible. The name means “broad places” in Hebrew.
When the first Europeans came to the Rehoboth Beach area during the seventeenth century, the coastline resembled its modern day position and a number of Native American tribes made their homes here—notably, the Lenape (or Delaware), the Nanticoke, the Assateagues, and the Sikkonese. At this time, the area likely served as an important Native American fishing village. Under pressure from European settlers, all tribes but the Nanticoke migrated to Oklahoma or were killed off. The Nanticoke tribe can still be found in Rehoboth today.
Successive generations then attempted to farm the land, but were ultimately unfruitful. However, the scenic shoreline began to draw in travelers for religious retreats as early as the 1870s, during which time many Methodist churches would make pilgrimages to the shore.
Reverend Robert W. Todd of St. Paul’s M.E. Church in Wilmington eventually constructed a camp area in Rehoboth similar to those on the Jersey Shore, supposedly after finding a spot along the beach that came to him in a dream.
“Tent” houses—small, one-room wooden homes—were occupied by visitors during the early 1900s, with important Rehoboth figures like Anna Hazzard developing the economy and infrastructure of the area after spending time vacationing here. The boardwalk was built in 1873, followed by the railroad and a paved highway to Georgetown.
RE/MAX Realty Group – Where Your Next Adventure Awaits
Contact our office to learn more about the charm and intrigue of Rehoboth’s history, as well as what our region has in-store for you during your stay. When you email or call us we’ll discuss booking your Vacation Rental Rehoboth home today!