Timeline for Dewey Beach

Source:   Dewey Beach:  History & Tales (second edition)  Courtesy: Barbara Quillen Dougherty, Dewey Beach Historian

1631  Dutch land at Lewes and purchase the lower Delaware area from the Indians

1633   Dutch Colony abandoned
1638-1655   Swedes control the Delaware River Area
1664  English Arrive
1763-1767  Mason and Dixon line surveyed

1769  King George III approves separation of Delaware from Pennsylvania

1830  Great storm levels coastal area and wipes out the last of the coastal pine forest in South Dewey
1855  Clementine and Robert West brought 135 acres of land that we now call Dewey Beach from John Roades for $500
1868  "Rehoboth City"  appeared on a map of Lewes Rehoboth Hundred that was a part of Beer's Atlas of Delaware

1870   Louis Trednick built a small hotel -- called Rehoboth City Hotel -- at the head of Rehoboth Bay in present-day Dewey to accommondate hunters and fisherman

1873  "The Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church" was chartered.   Tent houses were built in Rehoboth Beach
1875  Indian River Life-Saving Station opened for operations
1877  The Douglass House Hotel is build by William Fountain in Rehoboth City (present-day North Dewey Beach)


  • A one-acre of land on Dagsworthy Street is present-day Dewey Beach is conveyed to the Unites States of America and a building is commissioned:  The Rehoboth Beach Life-Saving Station (RBLSS)
  • Railroad extended from Lewes to Rehoboth
1878-1896  Captain Thomas J Truixton is the first Captain of the RBLSS
1897-1911  Captain Thomas W. Steele is keeper of the RBLSS
1898  Battle of Manila (Spanish American War) Admiral George Dewey becomes a national hero
1912-1921  Captain Fred Vogel is keeper of the RBLSS
1914  Large storm destroys Rehoboth board walk, pier and pavilions on December 7


  • Life-Saving Stations are renamed Coast Guard Stations (RBLSS to RBCGS)
  • Footbridge built across Silver Lake
1916  Lewes-Rehoboth Canal completed
1921  Citizens object to closing of RBCGS and is is recommmissioned (full complement of men) in 1926


  • Captain Nathaniel Franklin Quillen is keeper of the RBCGS
  • Rehoboth-By-The-Sea Realty Co. Captain Nathaniel F. Quillen and JosephMcSweeney are joined William Lynch, George McMahon, James McMahon and John Redefer
1927  Captain Leonard D. Melvin is keeper of RBCGS
1928  The first highway bridge was built across Silver Lake
1931  Electricity service is extended to the Dewey Beach area


  • Road to the inlet is built
  • Captain C.M. Keen is keeper of RBCGS
1937  RBCGS is decommissioned
1941  RBCGS reactivated during World War II
1946  Coast Guard property is abandoned to the State of Delaware
1962  Nor'easter of March 6 devastates the area.  It is called the "Storm of the Century."
1981  Dewey Beach becases an incorporated town -- the first town commissioners are sworn in at a beach bonfire.
1988  Replica of RBLSS is completed.   Architect: Lee Sparks;  Builder:  Ronald Moore;  Work overseen by town building inspector Samuel Fader. 
1992  Northeast storm of January 4 does extensive damage to oceanfront properties in Dewey
1994  Beach replenishment
1996  Dewey Beach celebrates its 15th anniversary as an incorporated town
1998  New Town Hall is dedicated in May
2001  Dewey Beach celebrates its 20th anniversary as an incorporated town
2005   Beach replenishment
2011   Beach replenishment
2011   On October 27 the governor issued a mandatory evacuation in Dewey Beach  in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, which caused major beach erosion, flooding, power outages, and property damage.
2013   Beach replenishment
2016   Beach replenishment