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Henlopen Acres

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1930, with additions. Wilbur S. Corkran. Entered by Dodd's Lane, north of Rehoboth Beach
  • Henlopen Acres (Hagley Museum and Library)
  • (Matthew Aungst)

This residential development beside the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal is considered one of Delaware's most desirable places to live. Colonel Corkran, raised and educated in Delaware, was an architect and engineer who had developed suburban housing in Short Hills, New Jersey. Around an existing house, The Homestead (ES28.1), he created Henlopen Acres, to be reached from eastern cities by automobile on “magnificent concrete roads [that] lead in all directions.” A prospectus published by Newark's Press of Kells (NK13) touted it as offering “a pine woods setting on an ocean beach.” Corkran, who called himself owner, supervising architect, and engineer, laid out streets (with such names as Tidewaters, Pine Reach, and Rolling Road) that “wind interestingly with the contour and shape of the property.” Written restrictions were meant to safeguard the “exclusive residential park”: lots were spacious (½ acre); all plans and specifications for houses and landscaping were to be approved; houses were set back irregularly and surrounded by native trees and shrubs—“each home site is a park within a park.” Garages were attached to homes to avoid visual clutter, and behind each house was a bridle path along which the utility poles ran. Each dwelling had an incinerator, as no garbage cans were allowed. Billboards, livestock, and poultry were forbidden, too. Finally, “There are to be no residents in this development who are not of the Caucasian race—servants excepted.” Corkran recommended Colonial Revival house designs, having stressed the historic nature of the area and named the development in part after the colonial lighthouse at Cape Henlopen. He dredged a yacht basin and drew unrealized plans for a Colonial Revival Beach Club, Yacht Club, and riding stables. The Great Depression hampered the development of Corkran's dream. Today, Henlopen Acres is Delaware's smallest incorporated town, with just 194 homes, twenty-two of which date from the 1930s.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Henlopen Acres", [Rehoboth Beach, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 275-275.

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