Iconic Dewey lighthouse coming down

Structure deemed unsafe, will be rebuilt along with restaurant
May 19, 2020

A Dewey Beach landmark is about to disappear from the landscape, as workers dismantle the iconic lighthouse at the end of Dickinson Avenue and Rehoboth Bay.

The lighthouse was deemed structurally unsafe as a result of the April 23 arson that also destroyed the adjacent Lighthouse Restaurant, Town Manager Scott Koenig said at Dewey Beach’s budget and finance committee meeting May 15. The restaurant was under construction at the time of the blaze.

The lighthouse will be rebuilt on its footprint, Koenig said, as a requirement of the mutual agreement and release signed between the town and Dewey Beach Enterprises.

“There is no plan to move the location of the lighthouse,” Koenig said. 

In the next few weeks, Koenig said, he expects DBE officials to submit plans to rebuild the lighthouse and restaurant, both of which would likely require new permits from DNREC and Sussex County before any rebuilding can proceed.

Koenig said the boardwalk was surprisingly undamaged, apart from charring of some boards that will be replaced. Koenig said the boardwalk will be open by Memorial Day weekend. Town commissioners are set to discuss and possibly vote on interim rules for the bayside beach and boardwalk at a special meeting Friday, May 22.

The April 23 fire caused about $750,000 in damage and followed a fire that was set at the same location earlier in April. Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal John Galaska said May 6 the fire that burned the restaurant to the ground was being investigated as arson.

“It’s still an active and open investigation,” Galaska said May 19.

A $10,000 reward has been offered to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fire.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Delaware Fire Marshal at 302-856-5600; Delaware Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at 800-TIP-3333; or Harvey, Hanna & Associates at 302-323-9300, Ext. 112.

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