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Bethany Beach, Delaware

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Bethany Beach, DelawareBethany Beach, Delaware
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authorshipLuiz F Castro
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Bethany Beach is a town in Sussex County, Delaware. It has a population of slightly over a thousand people. During summer, however, the population of Bethany Beach grows to over 15,000 people, as vacationers come to visit it.

Bethany Beach, along with South Bethany and Fenwick Island, is known as a "quiet resort". It is a place where you can go to enjoy a bit of solitude, to go walking along the shore of the Delaware Seashore State Park, to stroll the boardwalk and sandy beaches. There are motels and vacation homes along the shore in the area to cater to such "quiet" vacation activitiy.

Bethany Beach was founded in 1898 when F.D. Powers, a minister at the Vermont Avenue Christian Church, suggested a quiet retreat for Christians. This suggestion received the support of the Christian Missionary Society. A site at Delmarva Peninsula was proposed.

In 1900, the Disciples of Christ held a nationwide contest to choose a name for the retreat. Among the proposed names included Wellington and Gladmere. However it was Bethany Beach which was ultimately chosen. It was suggested by H.L. Atkinson of the University of Chicago.

Bethany Beach boardwalkBethany Beach boardwalk
photo source
authorshipKit Conn

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Just as it was being established, Bethany Beach ran into financial difficulties. Bankers who were supposed to back the project withdrew when they lost money on another project, Rehoboth Beach. To compound the problem, the Christian Missionary Society temporarily withdrew its endorsement on Bethany Beach in 1902.

Eventually Bethany Beach was established as a quiet retreat. Most of the property owners were from the Washington DC and Pittsburgh areas. The town finally began to experience some growth in the 1950's and early 1960's. Due to its Christian beginnings, the town resist the sale of liquor until 1982, when the State of Delaware finally granted a liquor license to Holiday House. In 2011, it is one of a growing number of townships where smoking is banned on its beaches and boardwalk areas.

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