September-October 2013 | WHAT'S IN A NAME?

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
WHAT'S IN A NAME?

OUTWARD BOUND

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Learn how Delaware’s most popular seaside resort, Rehoboth Beach, earned its name

Rehoboth Beach is a stunning seaside resort that attracts innumerable of visitors each year from all over the United States. Its sprawling white-sand beaches and charming resort-town feel are two of the many reasons this Sussex County hotspot is so unique. Perhaps even more so, however, is that Rehoboth Beach got its start as a meeting place for a local church camp. 
 
In 1873, the Methodist Episcopal Church founded “The Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association” as a venue for its summer events. Rev. Robert Todd and several incorporators gained a charter to make Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association a resort with Christian values. The reverend and his incorporators chose to name the campground 
Rehoboth Beach. The origins of the name can be found in the Old Testament and means “broad places.” 
 
The Camp Meeting Association went on to build several tents, hotels, a post office and a boardwalk. When the railroad system came to Rehoboth Beach, things changed. It brought so many new and diverse visitors to the area that the religious ties on which Rehoboth Beach had been founded began to evanesce. Even the 1873 charter was thrown out, to make way for a modern municipal government in 1891. 

For a brief period of time after the municipal government was established, Rehoboth Beach had its name changed to Cape Henlopen City. In 1893, however, the name Rehoboth was returned to the city. In 1937, the town’s name was changed again, to The City of Rehoboth Beach, which is how it remains to this day. —Bethany Hooper


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