The History of Bethany Beach

Over 114 years ago, even before the wonderful Bay Forest community was a thought, our hometown of Bethany Beach was formed right here in coastal Delaware! Throughout the entirety of the town’s existence, Bethany Beach has been building up to be what is now one of the most sought after beach towns in the country. To get a better idea of the foundation of this wonderful little town, let us share some interesting historical facts with you!

1901 – The Town of Bethany Beach was founded – Founded by members of the Christian Church of Washington DC area and Pennsylvania, the now “town” was originally founded to be a “suitable plot of land for a permanent yearly seaside assembly for the Christian churches of the country.”

Bethany Beach in 1880 Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes)

Bethany Beach in 1880 Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes)

 

 

1903 – First boardwalk was constructed – Believe it or not, the first boardwalk was not raised, but was built level with the sea! Just a few miles from Bay Forest, the Bethany Beach Boardwalk is now home to the iconic bandstand and many amazing local shops and restaurants.

The original boardwalk in Bethany Beach Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes)

The original boardwalk in Bethany Beach Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes)

 

 

1907 – Life Saving Station was built – A key component to any beach town, the current Bethany Beach Patrol utilizes a building next to the bandstand along the boardwalk. In 1907, there was an entire house-like structure in the middle of the beach that was called the Life Saving Station.

Bethany Beach in 1920 Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes)

Bethany Beach in 1920 Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes)

 

 

1948 – The Volunteer Fire Company was organized – Also in the heart of downtown Bethany Beach, the volunteer fire company is heavily involved in the town’s safety! Although the organization was formed in 1948, the actual firehouse was not built until 1956.

1952 – The Chesapeake Bay Bridge was opened – What is now one of the most, if not THE most, commonly used routes to the Delaware coastline; The Chesapeake Bay Bridge changed the course of history for Bethany and other local beach towns. The easy access brought more tourists and visitors to our beautiful beaches and forever paved the way for growth.

1977 – First Indian statue was placed at Routes 1 and 26 – Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of the town of Bethany Beach, the Chief Little Owl Totem Pole was built by a sculptor by the name of Peter Wolf Toth, for an art project that would create over 50 of these Native American sculptures throughout the country.

Current day Chief Little Owl Totem Pole

1984 – First July 4th parade and fireworks were held – Could you even imagine a summer at Bay Forest without the Fourth of July parade and fireworks?! Just 3 miles from the surf and sand of Bethany Beach, it is a no brainer to attend all of the amazing events happening in town all year long!

It is no surprise that our residents love being a part of this quaint beach town with so much history. If you want to be a part of this amazing community in Bethany Beach, Delaware, stop by today and see how you can own a new beach home in Bay Forest!

Sources: townofbethanybeach.com, Bethany Beach Memoirs: A Long Look Back (Meehan & Dukes) via Wikipedia