Lewes Historical Society History Happy Hours begin June 14

This historic photo is part of Tom Brown's presentation, "Lewes: Its Rise and Fall as the Largest Fishing Port in the Country, 1883-1966," at 4 p.m., Friday, June 28. SOURCE SUBMITTED
June 11, 2013

Local residents can indulge on Friday evenings for a History Happy Hour of interesting dialogue lead by local history buffs, ranging in topic from early explorers of the Delaware Bay to Lewes during the Revolutionary War. Every Friday from June 14 through Sept. 27, featured presentations will be offered free of charge at 4 p.m. for 20-30 minutes, followed by question-answer periods. At the conclusion of the presentations, a glass of wine will be offered.

To kick off the season Friday, June 14, Dr. Carl Hunt will present “Five Centuries of Information Technology, The First Town of the First State at the Cutting Edge” at the Cannonball House at the corner of Front and Bank streets. People live today in a highly interconnected world. It was not always this way, yet the information and communications technologies that connect people in 2013 find many of their roots in the times that Lewes and the surrounding areas were first settled. The settlers and even the first residents of Lewes, Sussex County and all of Delaware have leveraged the benefits of information science and technologies from the earliest points in history. Lewes, Cape Henlopen and Sussex County have had a strong innovative spirit starting even before the days of William Penn, who gave Lewes and Sussex their names.

A retired U.S. Army colonel, Hunt was an information technology officer during the last half of his 30-year Army career. A graduate of the U.S. National War College, he studied U.S. military history and technology policy throughout various stages of his tenure in the Army and in joint assignments. His final posting before retirement was as director of Technology and Analysis, Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations, U.S. Strategic Command. He holds a PhD in information technology from George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

History Happy Hours continue Friday, June 21, as Paul Collins presents "Early Explorers of the Delaware Bay" at the Cannonball House. This lecture will consider the early explorers of the region and the charters of the Delaware River and Bay, their nationality, sponsors and missions. Collins will also examine the names the explorers gave to the region throughout this period and their current names and the early settlements at Zwaanendael and Fort Christina. The audience will be engaged to learn about the geopolitical impact on the region from the Dutch, Swedes and English; and William Penn and the Duke of York; and the pirates in the region and their roles.

Collins and his wife moved to Lewes in 2007. Since then, he has been very active with The Lewes Historical Society working on ghost tours and lecturing on the Cape May–Lewes Ferry during the summer. Prior to moving to Lewes, Collins worked for New York State Institute for Basic Research in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities as assistant director of Department of Biomedical Engineering. Then, in 1988, Collins was recruited by Total Tec Systems. He was promoted to partner with title of vice president of engineering services in 1997 and then in 1999 promoted to the position of CIO/CTO. In 2001, Total Tec Systems was sold to Bell Microsystems, and Collins took on the role of CTO for Bell Micro. His educational background includes a master of science in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University, a master of science in biopsychology from Rutgers University, a bachelor of science in biopsychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a bachelor of science in engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

On Friday, June 28, at the Cannonball House, Tom Brown will present “Lewes: Its Rise and Fall as the Largest Fishing Port in the Country, 1883-1966.” Participants will find out how Lewes became the No. 1 fishing port in the country in terms of tonnage landed. The menhaden industry in Lewes began on the bay front in 1883 and ebbed and flowed as the fish came and went until World War II. Then Lewes spurted to the nation’s largest fishing harbor in 1953 port, retained its preeminent status through the 1950s, and saw its decline during the early 1960s until menhaden fishing ended in 1966. This History Happy Hour will explain the menhaden fishing industry, its growth, its quick demise and its Lewes legacy.

Brown has been a volunteer for the society since 2007 as a tour docent, a processing archivist and researcher, and a trustee. Before retiring and moving full time to Delaware in 2006, he was an archivist at the National Archives for more than 30 years, with the last 18 as manager of the Archival Services in the Center for Electronic Records. He was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Society of American Archivists in 1996, became a certified archivist in 1989 and has since been recertified three times. He earned an MA and PhD in American history and sociology from Oklahoma State University.

For a complete listing of speakers, subjects and locations of History Happy Hours, go to

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