History of Lewes
Thank you for coming to Lewes Realty with your real estate needs. We appreciate the opportunity to share our town with you. We’re sure you will enjoy Lewes. Your vacation is a time of relaxation and a time to create precious memories for you, your family and friends. We will strive to make your memories great.
Here is some information about Lewes: Lewes, (pronounced Loo-iss) is known as “The First Town in the First State”. Lewes was first settled by the Dutch in 1631. The Settlement was called “Zwaanendael” (meaning the Valley of the Swans). After being destroyed by Native Americans and rebuilt again, Lewes became a permanent settlement in 1658. The settlement and it’s name changed many times in 1600’s but it was given the name of Lewes by William Penn, when he received the land that we now know as the State of Delaware, in 1682 by the Duke of York. It was named in honor of a lovely City in England. (Sussex County was also named for a County in England by William Penn at that time). Lewes was the County Seat of Sussex County until 1791 when it was changed to Georgetown for a more central location.
Caesar Rodney, the delegate from Delaware, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776 giving Delaware the title of “The First State”. So when in Lewes, you are in the First Town in the First State!
Lewes’ history is rich with numerous battles with pirates, Native Americans, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, and even played a major role patrolling and defending the Atlantic Coast, the Delaware Bay, and major ports and Towns up the Delaware River (Wilmington and Philadelphia) in World War I and II. It has endured time because of its “safe harbor” and wonderful location.
There are numerous books detailing the history of Lewes that can be found around town. Many of the old grave sights can be viewed in the cemeteries on Second Street, King’s Hwy. & Pilottown Rd.
Historical tours run throughout the year which display the older sites and homes throughout the Town. Brochures are available in our office and the Chamber of Commerce behind the Zwaanendael Museum. The museum also houses historic artifacts and offers tours.
This wonderful historic town graces the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay. Enjoy our tree lined streets, museums, restaurants, unique shops and stores, boating, fishing, swimming or enjoy strolling along our sandy, peaceful beaches. Breathtaking sunsets can be seen from Lewes Beach or the premier view at the point at Cape Henlopen State Park. This State Park offers approx. 4000+ acres of recreational land that includes bike paths, ocean beaches, bath house, Sea Side Nature Center, camping area, WWII Observation Towers, miles of walking and hiking trails, fishing pier, and much more.
Just south of Lewes is Rehoboth Beach with a beautiful ocean beach and boardwalk lined with restaurants, shops, arcades and amusement rides. Between Lewes and Rehoboth are waterparks, movie theatres, tax-free outlet shopping and much more!