Looking for something new to do in Bethany Beach? Step back into history and take a walking tour of the town’s historic landmarks. The Bethany Beach we all know and love today has a rich history and glorious past.
Bethany Beach was founded in 1901 by members of a Christian Church from the Washington DC and Pittsburgh area. H.L. Atkinson is credited with naming Bethany Beach, after winning a nationwide contest. Atkinson’s prize for winning was a lot on the beach. In 1901 the first building was constructed, the Tabernacle, and in 1903, the boardwalk was built.
The Bethany Beach Loop Canal was completed in 1910, and is located at the intersection of North Pennsylvania Avenue and First Street. Original settlers entered and exited Bethany Beach by traveling from the Rehoboth train station, then riding a wood-burning steamboat down the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal to the Assawoman Canal, to Pennewell’s Landing in Ocean View. Then, visitors boarded the Allie May, a boat that would take them the final mile of travel to Bethany Beach. In 1912, the Helen Marie II replaced Allie May, which docked at the town itself.
The Drexler House was built in 1905 and is located at 99 Campbell Place. The Drexler house was home of State Senator Louis Drexler. Louis Drexler moved his family from Pittsburgh to Bethany Beach in 1904. Before becoming State Senator, Drexler and his wife were leading members of the Christian Church, which aimed to establish a summertime meeting place near the Atlantic.
The Dinker House, located at 99 First Street, was built in 1904. It’s situated on the ocean side of Atlantic Avenue in Bethany Beach and is a two-and-one-half-story cottage with a wrap-around porch. It was the second house built by William A. Dinker, one of the original six Pittsburgh businessmen, who founded Bethany Beach.
(Credit: Town of Bethany Beach)
Dinker also built Dinker Cottage in 1902, on the south side of First Street. Between 1922 and 1925, part of the first floor was utilized as a U.S. Post Office. The Dinker Cottage is the only-documented public building to survive from this early period in Bethany Beach and served as the last stop of the contract mail-service route known as Star Route 12110, serving Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Millville, Clarksville, Omar, and Frankford. Today, Dinker Cottage is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Route 1 and Garfield Parkway at 310 Garfield Extension.
Addy Cottage, located at 104 Second Street, was the first of many cottages built by John M. Addy. Built in 1902, John M. Addy was one of the original six Pittsburgh businessmen who founded the town. The house is a symmetrical five-bay, one and a half story Folk Victorian house. John Addy built himself a stately home on the Northern edge of Bethany Beach in 1901 and remained as a home until 1935 when it became a boarding house, named Addy Sea. Today, Addy Sea is a breathtaking Victorian Oceanfront Bed & Breakfast offering exquisite comfort and privacy within an elegant old-world setting in Bethany Beach.
Errett Cottage was built in 1903 by William E. Errett, one of the original six Pittsburgh businessmen who founded the Town of Bethany Beach. Errett Cottage is still owned by the Errett family today.
The Christian Conference Center is a two-story brown building in Bethany Beach that is located at the intersection of Garfield Parkway and North Pennsylvania Street. It started activities at The Christian Conference Center in 1901 for summer camp meetings by Disciples of Christ Church of Washington and Pittsburgh. During World War II, the U.S. Army used the Christian Conference Center. Today, the building is used for its original purpose, housing those attending summer conferences from Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh, PA.
If you’re into local history or history in general, you’ve got to visit these homes and landmarks.