I Didn’t Know That! Uncovering the Story of Lewes

Do you remember when you were in grade school and you went on those “boring” field trips? Well, life changes a lot things that once bored us to tears have transformed over the years. Lackluster field trips become interesting, meaningful and very relevant. And we’ve got several good ones for you!!

When you hear the word “history,” you may think about having to remember random dates, and names of people that seem not to matter. Think again. Instead, consider connecting with the past to put the present in context. Love the journey as you open your eyes to a world you haven’t see before and observe. Welcome to the Lewes Historical Society – dedicated to bringing history to life!!

Take a guided or virtual tour of their nine properties throughout the historic district of Lewes – including the village-like campus of Shipcarpenter Square, where meticulously restored 18th and 19th century buildings transport you to a golden era of Lewes history. Transport yourself into Lewes’ true stories of pirates, shipwrecks, heroic lifesaving efforts through the years, and the infamous bombardment of Lewes in 1813. Be sure to snap a picture with the cannonball still embedded in the foundation of the Cannonball House!

Sea dogs! You definitely don’t want to miss the Cape Waterways Tour. Take a guided boat cruise out to the Lewes Breakwater and 1885 West End Lighthouse, both local landmarks crucial in protecting both watercraft and the shoreline.

Experience living history at the society museum’s Tavern Talks. You can drink in the lifestyle and conversations of the First Town in the First State (the proud local motto). Or immerse yourself in the maritime history of Lewes with a walking tour and visit to a real lifesaving station, conjuring up the heroics of saving hundreds of sailors over the centuries.

And be sure to grab a memento of your visit or a gift for your houseguests at the society’s adorable gift shop in the historic Ryves Holt house, the oldest surviving building in Delaware.

Beyond the ongoing museums to visit, the Lewes Historical Society is well-known for playing its part at many area festivals and outdoor adventures.

Do you “antique?” Join the community at their annual shows in the spring during the beautiful Tulip Festival, when Lewes is adorned with more than 23,000 tulips, and more than 4,000 other spring flowers.

For family fun, the society’s summer antiques show coincides with the outdoor, family-friendly Maritime Living History Festival, where Lewes celebrates its proud shipbuilding, piloting, fishing and lifesaving heritage.

And for all of you artisans out there, come join the society for its annual Seaglass & Artisans Festival in September, and Craft Show every October. There’s so much to indulge in and learn about Lewes! 

For the kids, there’s even an outdoor camp and children’s garden. Take the grandkids on a bike ride on the Lewes-Georgetown Trail, then stop by the garden to learn something new from their impressive outdoor project near the Lewes Library. If they’re staying with you, why not send them to one of the summer camps, where everything from storytelling to field trips around town keep them engaged.

Calling all military history buffs! The society now has a permanent exhibit, “Breaking Britannia’s Grasp: Lewes, the Royal Navy and the Legacy of 1812.” It is aptly located at the Cannonball House, where a visible cannonball is wedged into the corner of the house’s foundation, serving as a reminder of Lewes’ incredible fortitude during the War of 1812. Under attack, and refusing to surrender, the heroic townspeople of Lewes prevailed despite the might of the British Navy. 

Thanks to a group of concerned residents in the 1960s when the society was formed, historic houses and businesses were meticulously restored and manually moved to Shipcarpenters Square for the community to enjoy and find inspiration. It is now the home of the Lewes Historical Society.

Become a member, or support the current restoration of the special Ryves Holt House, a national and state landmark. There are plenty of reasons to support the society’s mission of preserving the First Town. Discover all of the intriguing opportunities the Lewes Historical Society provides. Explore the historic district. Some of your best field trips are still to come!

Lewes Historical Society | 110 Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes, DE 19958 | (302) 645-7670 | info@historiclewes.org 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our FREE Updates

Keep in the loop with life in Sussex County DE!  We'll share fun, local events on a Thursday, and great articles on local life each Monday. 

Skip to content