Railroad-era Rehoboth diorama gains new buildings

April 23, 2022

A new nine-lot section of buildings located on the north side of Rehoboth Avenue has been positioned on the miniature village diorama of railroad-era Rehoboth Beach. The new buildings complete the build-out of the second block of Rehoboth Avenue.

New models include the city’s first town hall and fire house building constructed in 1906 at the site of what is now Browseabout Books. Remnants of that building exist today at First Street and Virginia Avenue. The original bell from the cupola is displayed at Rehoboth Avenue Fire Station 1. Alicia and Bob Boardman sponsored the model. The two buildings on the east side of Town Hall, at No. 39 and No. 41 Rehoboth Ave., were residential cottages, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Tom Schwab.

To the west of the new buildings is a cottage that still stands today as Claws Restaurant. The model was sponsored by Cathy and Woods Bennett. Next to that building is the Van Pelt cottage, sponsored by Nina Beebe Hazzard, granddaughter of the original owners. Nina’s mother married James Beebe Jr., son of the co-founder of Beebe Hospital. Next to that is Joseph W. Lynch Livery, a prominent provider of horse-drawn transportation from the railroad station at the center of Rehoboth Avenue to summer residences throughout town. On the east end of the new set of buildings was one of Rehoboth’s first restaurants. The livery and the restaurant are available for sponsorship.

New buildings on the south side of Rehoboth Avenue include the Thoroughgood Lumber Yard and the family’s summer residence, which were across from what is now the post office. Thoroughgood Lumber operated for over 100 years, and on multiple occasions supplied the lumber to replace the storm-damaged Rehoboth Boardwalk. The lumber yard was sponsored by Melissa Thoroughgood and Lyn Thoroughgood Webster. The Thoroughgood summer residence was sponsored by Mary Ann Thoroughgood, who has fond memories of visiting her grandmother Pearl Davis, matriarch of the cottage during the railroad era of Rehoboth. Hydrangeas adorned the front of the homestead.

The new models join more than 40 other buildings already positioned on the miniature village, a multi-year project to replicate Rehoboth Avenue during the railroad era. It is on display in the Rehoboth Beach Main Street office building next to Grove Park and the Rehoboth Beach Museum. To learn about the project, go to Creator Paul Lovett hosts informal gatherings from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. each Wednesday, focusing on different, unique aspects of Rehoboth history. Those interested are welcome to bring their own coffee and join the conversation. Contact Paul Lovett at or call 302-893-9391 to make an appointment.


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