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Ship-Carpenters' Houses

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Before 1868. Main St., Bethel
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Ship-Carpenters' Houses (HABS)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Shipbuilding once flourished on this tributary of the Nanticoke, a river that flows westward toward the Chesapeake Bay and markets in Baltimore. Bethel began as Lewisville in 1840 when a farmer laid out twelve lots adjacent to his wharf on Broad Creek; the current name came in 1880. Shipbuilders prospered here from the late nineteenth century through 1918. This side-by-side pair of weatherboarded houses facing south was built by two ship captains. One dwelling has Greek Revival corner pilasters, a treatment more common in Sussex County than elsewhere in Delaware. Simple pine paneling distinguishes the interiors. The modern bridge to Bethel (1967) replaced the original of 1887. An engaging ensemble of small frame houses, the entire town has been placed on the National Register.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Ship-Carpenters' Houses", [Bethel, 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, 294-294.

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