Home Local News Horseless carriages ended railroad’s golden age in Rehoboth Beach

Horseless carriages ended railroad’s golden age in Rehoboth Beach


Rehoboth Beach was scarcely five years old when the Wilmington Morning Herald reported news that would shape the resort for half a century.

On Feb. 18, 1878, the newspaper announced, “The contract for building the Rehoboth railroad from Lewes to the grounds of the camp meeting association has been awarded to Joseph Hyde, of this city (Wilmington), who will start this morning for Lewes with one hundred laborers.”

As an inducement to build the railroad, the Rehoboth Camp Meeting Association, who controlled the town, gave the Junction and Breakwater Railroad Company 50 building lots and a lot to construct a train station.

The Junction and Breakwater Trail stretches 6 miles from Rehoboth Beach to Lewes along an old railbed. The trail gets its name from the former Penn Central Rail Line that ran between Lewes and Rehoboth in the mid-1800s and delivered passengers to the resorts along the Atlantic coast. Penn Central abandoned the line in the early 1970s.

Train service to Rehoboth made it easier for Wilmington residents to vacation in the resort for a week or two, and the railroad also enabled Delaware residents from all parts of the state to visit the resort easily.

Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, the railroad carried thousands of people to Rehoboth; and the train service was instrumental in making the Delaware seaside town a first-class resort.

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service