Rehoboth lighthouse razed, rebuilt in 1996

April 16, 2024

The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse replica in the center of the Rehoboth Avenue roundabout has established itself as an icon welcoming visitors to Rehoboth Beach, standing as a timeless beacon of coastal charm and historical significance. But it hasn’t always been a centerpiece. 

According to Cape Gazette archives, the original replica was demolished July 9, 1996, after it had become unsafe. It only took a few tugs from a front-end loader to bring it down. The replica had stood near the Chamber of Commerce building (adjacent to Grove Park) since 1929. The lighthouse was originally built by a Realtor in 1924 as an homage to the beloved Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. The Village Improvement Association purchased the replica in 1928 and moved it from the first block of Rehoboth Avenue to the entrance of the city near Grove Street. VIA maintained the lighthouse until 1971, when ownership was transferred to the City of Rehoboth Beach.

Following the 1996 demo, a replacement lighthouse replica was installed a few weeks later. That structure, which was a closer match to the original Cape Henlopen Lighthouse that fell into the ocean in 1926, stood until 2004 when Rehoboth Avenue was shifted to create the new roundabout as part of a major streetscape project. Rather than move the replica as part of the streetscape work, officials chose to demolish it and build a new one in the center of the new roundabout. The Chamber of Commerce building, the old railroad station, was also moved a short distance west closer to the Rehoboth Beach Museum. 


  • Delaware Cape Region History in Photographs, published every Tuesday in the Cape Gazette, features historical photos from Delaware's Cape Region - particularly - and from throughout Sussex County and Delaware generally.

    Readers are invited to submit photos of historic interest. They can be mailed to the Cape Gazette at PO Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958, or via email to

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