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South Bethany, the Best Little Beach in Delaware

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The South Bethany Historical Society  (SBHS), Delaware, is an independent, volunteer organization established in 2010 to collect, preserve and promote the history of South Bethany, known to us as the “The Best Little Beach in Delaware”. The Historical Society is led by an Executive Committee consisting of 4 elected officers plus the chairpersons of standing committees who serve at the discretion of the President.  Although the SBHS is an independent organization, it works closely and shares information with the South Bethany Property Owner’s Association (SBPOA) and the Town of South Bethany (Town).  Both organizations provide considerable support to the SBHS, including promoting community awareness of the Historical Society and financial assistance.  The Town frequently includes the Historical Society in their updates to Town property owners and residents, as well as allows us to hold our monthly meetings and display materials at Town Hall.  The support and encouragement from the SBPOA and Town were very helpful in establishing and supporting the SBHS.



Our Goals Include:

- Collect, preserve and protect historical information,

- Promote interest in our community,

- Conduct interviews with long time/early property owners to record their memories of the "early days",

- Conduct information exchanges, seminars and meetings,

- Research and record the history of our community, and

- Make available historical information to interested parties (we have materials on display in Town Hall).

Society's Current Officers:
January 2016 a new list of officers were elected by the Society.  The 2016 officers are:
                 President                  Robert "Bob" McCarthy

                  Vice President          Terry York

                  Secretary                  Carolyn Marcello

                  Treasurer                  George Junkin

Society's Past Presidents:



Society Presidents past and present Maria Johansen 2013-2014,

Lois Rubinsohn 2015 and Mary Suazo 2010 - 2012


"Best Little Beach In Delaware" History Book

The SBHS published "The Best Little Beach In Delaware" history book about the Town of South Bethany in June 2014.  The origins of the book began in 2012 when the Society decided to interview early property owners and past mayors to capture their memories before they were lost  As the project went on the Society adjusted its sights and it decided to produce an entire book using various collections the Society already had, the collections available at Town Hall and solicited information from a variety of individuals.  


John Speer, Jr. took on the task of coordinating the project, and he organized  a team of about 15 Society members.  The end result of hundreds of hours of work is a full color 160 page book that contains over 300 photos, news clippings, advertisements, post cards, letters, sales brochures, and more.  The book has been nominated for the prestigious 2014 "Gold Ink Award", the winners are to be announced in August 2014. 


If you look closely you may find yourself, family member, friend and/or house in one of the many photos.  In addition to personal interest stories of individuals and families, you can find information on key dates, development, founding of the Town, building of the canals, annexations, notable storms, critters found dead and alive on the beach, founding of the Property Owners Association, the Women's Club, Neighborhood Watch Program, origin of the Beach Patrol and much more. 

You can buy the book for $25 at "McCabe's Gourmet Market" and "Made by Hand International Cooperative" in the York Beach Mall in South Bethany, as well as "Jayne's Reliable" on Rt. 26 in Dagsboro. 


2015 Events:





Past Activities: 


-  On September 11, 2014 we held a seminar on "50th Anniversary of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry".

        The presenter was Mike DiPaolo, Executive Director of the Lewes Historical Society.  The event

         took place at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach, and was well received by the 65


- In August 2014 Maria Johansen was interviewed about "Preserving our Town's History" by Coast

         Point news "The Local Voice of YOUR Community".

-  On May 25, 2014 the SBHS sponsored the “May Felerski Dedication” to have the meeting room in

        Town Hall to be dedicated to May Felerski for her contributions to the Town.  A dedication

        ceremony attended by over 80 was held on May 25 at the Town Meeting Room.

-  On February 28, 2014 the SBHS conducted a wrap up presentation of the “Super Storm Sandy

        Collection” was conducted at Town Hall to a packed crowd on Friday evening February 28. 

        Attendees were encouraged to bring food and beverages and enjoy the show, and they sure did

        and everyone seemed to have lots of fun.  Presentations were conducted by Martha Fields, George

        Junkin, Kathy Jankwoski, Dick Oliver, Tony Caputo and Lora Caputo.  The event was covered by

        Lindsay Tuchman of WBOC 16 TV, and it was aired on WBOC's Friday night 11:00 local news

        highlight.  The television story ran for several minutes and featured interviews of presenters and

        pi - On September 12, 2013, SBHS conducted a seminar on the “Building of the Canals in South

        Bethany”.  SBHS's own Dr. George Junkin gave a presentation to a packed crowd of 110

       attendees on the creation, building, maintenance and stories of the South Bethany canals.


- In August 2013 SBHS completed a “Collection of Information on Super Storm Sandy”, October 2012, while the facts and personal interest stories were still fresh in our minds.   SBHS's Dr. Martha Fields, a founding member of SBHS, stepped up and took on the task of putting the collection together.  The collection is an impressive assembly of newspaper articles, photographs, personal interest stories of property owners, Town Maintenance Department records, weather briefings, emails from Town Hall, tide measurements and more. The collection, including photos, as of August 2013 can be viewed at the following link:  Super Storm Sandy Stories

-  In May and June 2013 the Towns of Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany Beach, Ocean View and

        Millville were selected to host and contribute to a Smithsonian exhibition to be displayed in our

        area.  The exhibit we hosted was entitled "The Way We Worked".


- On June 8, 2012, we conducted a seminar to over 135 attendees on the 1962 "Storm of the Century" at the South Coastal Library in Bethany.

-  On March 7, 2012, we participated in a DNREC Workshop held in the Rehoboth Convention Center on the "Storm of '62" with a Table Display and presentation of other materials.

- In the spring of 2012 the Coastal Point published an article entitled “South Bethany Historical Society Piecing Together Town’s Past" for the Coastal Point news "The Local Voice of YOUR Community".


Society Members at an October 2014 Meeting


Photo taken at a monthly Society meeting.  Pictured on front row left to right Carolyn Marcello, Maria Johansen

Barbara Jayne, Celeste Speer and Barbara Junkin.  Top row Bob Johansen, Dee Burbage, George Junkin,

Tony Caputo, Lora Caputo, Terry York, Pat Weisgerber and Frank Weisgerber.










        Past Mayor Kathy Jankowski and May's sister,                                        Mayor Pat Voveris, Council Person Sue Callaway  

                        Carolyn Marcello                                                                             former SBHS President Maria Johansen        




               Maria Johansen in front of SBHS's Display Board                       SBHS'S Display Table at the annual Bull Roast
















A capacity crowd at June 8, 2012, Storm of the  Century SBHS                     Dr. Kimberly Grimes (left) facilitator, and Dr. Wendy Carey

              seminar held at the South Coastal Library                                 (right) presenter, at the June 8, 2012, SBHS seminar 























Dr. Kimberly Grimes (Facilitator), Joan Bogdan, Bob Parsons

and Jane McCabe (speakers) at the June 13, 2013 seminar             "Way We Worked" Smithsonian Display at the                                                                                                                   Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit  held in May and 

                                                                                                                  June 2013 at Ocean View Town Hall

        Maria Johansen introduces the t-shirt in Town Hall                  Ron Steen, Former Mayor Kathy Jankowski, Tempe

                                                                                                                      Steen and other family members        


We are always looking for new information and materials, and we seek out interviews with long term/early residents to document their memories of the "early days".    If you have or know someone who has information and/or materials that may be of interest to the Historical Society, please contact Maria Johansen at or Carolyn Marcello by phone at 302-539-8775.   Copies of much of our materials are on a flash drive that can be made available to members.


Gifting to our Collection:

Below you will find links to our 1) Gifting Guidelines, 2) Donor Check in Process and 3) Deed of Gift.  A properly completed Deed of Gift is needed in order for the Historical Society to properly keep any items donated.  Here are the links f rom which you can print copies:  

SBHS Gift Guidelines

SBHS Donor Check In Process

SBHS Deed of Gift



General membership meetings are scheduled on the second Friday of each month from September to June.   Meetings are held at the Town Hall building starting at


Membership - Join Today:

A 2014 Household Membership fee is $20.  Members will be included on our e-mail mailing list, unless they wish not to be on it, and will periodically receive updates.  To become a member please print, complete and mail the Membership Application Form you will find at this link: 2014 SB Historical Society Membership  Application.doc.  You can also pick up, complete, and hand in a Membership Application at the Town Hall -  402 Evergreen Road.

Our 2016 Executive Committee Includes:

                  President                  Bob McCarthy

                  Vice President          Terry York

                  Secretary                  Carolyn Marcello

                  Treasurer                  George Junkin


Our 2016 Standing Committee Chairpersons Include:

                Membership               George Junkin

                Preservation               Tony Caputo

                Publicity                      Vacant
                Speaker Selection      Vacant


General Information:

- Household memberships are available at a modest annual fee.   

- Our income is used primarily on preserving materials and disseminating information.

- Monthly meetings at Town Hall are open to all SBHS members and interested community members.

- The 4 officers who comprise the Executive Committee are elected in December, and serve terms

      starting January 1.   The President and Treasurer are elected for two year terms starting in even

      numbered years, and the Secretary and Vice President serve two year terms starting in odd

      numbered years.

 - Our fiscal year is January 1 to December 31.


Mailing Address:

South Bethany Historical Society

c/o Town of South Bethany

402 Evergreen Road

South Bethany,    DE    19930



The SBHS gives the SBPOA a big thanks for allowing us to set up our Home Page on their website!


If you wish to add, change or correct information on this webpage contact Tony Caputo at 302-537-1628.

This page was last modified on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 07:35 PM