Lewes, (pronounced Loo-iss) is known as “The First Town in the First State”. Caesar Rodney, the delegate from Delaware, was the first signer on the Declaration of Independence in 1776, thus giving Delaware the title of “The First State”. Lewes was first settled by the Dutch in 1631. The Settlement was called “Swanendael”, which means the Valley of the Swans. After being destroyed by Native Americans and rebuilt again, Lewes became a permanent settlement in 1658. The settlement and its name changed many times in the 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 by William Penn, and was named after a county in England at that time. Lewes was the County Seat of Sussex County until 1791 when it was changed to Georgetown for a more central location.
The town of Lewes was the scene of numerous battles with pirates and Native Americans and played a key role in many wars, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, WW I and WW II. Lewes played a major role in both World Wars, patrolling and defending the Atlantic Coast, The Delaware Bay and major port cities up the Delaware River such as Wilmington and Philadelphia. It has endured throughout time because of its “safe harbor” and wonderful location. There are numerous books detailing the history of Lewes that can be found throughout the town. Many of the old grave sights can be viewed in the cemeteries on Second Street, King’s Highway and 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 at the Chamber of Commerce, behind the Swanendael 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 (Make your Charter Reservation today at www.fishlewes.com), swimming or enjoy strolling along our peaceful, sandy beaches. Breathtaking sunsets can be seen from Lewes Beach or from one of many premier views in Cape Henlopen State Park. The State Park offers approximately 4,000+ acres of recreational land that included bike paths, ocean and bay beaches, a bath house and concession area, Sea Side Nature Center, camping areas, WWII observations towers, miles of walking or hiking trails and much more.
Beebe Hospital provides health care service to communities as far south as Fenwick Island and north to Milton. There are Physicians, Surgeons, Health Care facilities and Dentists throughout the town. There is also a library, grocery store, convenience stores, great restaurants, churches and a pharmacy within the town limits. Like those early explorers that discovered this sanctuary in the 1600’s, you won’t want to leave. We love living here and we know that you will too.
Please call Lewes Realty at 1-800-705-7590 or 302-645-1955, if you have any questions.