HISTORY 

Abstracted from accounts by Warren H. MacDonald, noted local historian, now deceased

Silver Lake and Lake Comegys are remnants of the alluvial flow that followed from the receding glaciers of the last Ice Age. They are the only natural freshwater lakes in Delaware and closer to the Atlantic Ocean than any other freshwater body in the United States.

 

Today Silver Lake covers a total of forty-five acres. The original English settler’s name for it was Rhodes Pond for the John Rhodes (Roads) family that acquired a Duke of York patent (grant) to the nearby land, beginning in 1676, and ultimately surrounding the entire lake. Over the years thereafter, the land in the patented area was gradually sold to others, but no part of the lake was included in the sales.

 

In the late 1700’s, the name changed to Lake Newbold and in the 1800’s, Lake Newbold was renamed Lake Charles. The reason for this remains a mystery. About 1924, the name "Silver Lake" was applied, as part of the promotion of the development, Rehoboth Heights

 

Early in Colonial days, ship captains secured fresh water from Silver Lake before heading out into the Atlantic. The settlers of Lewes, however, tried several times to prevent pirates from filling their casks by sending armed men to drive them off.

During cold winters and before the production of manufactured ice, local farmers cut blocks of ice from Silver Lake to help keep their foodstuffs from spoiling too soon.

 

Lake Comegys, was formerly known as “Tan Vat Cove” because of a tannery located there.  Because of pollution from the tannery, it was separated from Silver Lake. Around 1871 it was renamed  Lake Comegys, the name of a major director of the organization promoting the sea-side development then named Rehoboth City.

Lake Gerar was originally a swamp and given its name in 1872 by the Methodist Camp Meeting Association.  The current site was created in the 1930’s by the DuPont family, in exchange for nearby lands, and the City of Rehoboth Beach to clean up the wetland and make it a proper lake.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION

On May 13, 2004, the Delaware Senate and House of Representatives passed concurrent Resolution No. 37, which recognizes that the Rehoboth lakes are natural treasures to Delaware and the United States. 

SILVER LAKE AND LAKE COMEGYS GIVEN HISTORIC DESIGNATION

 

Rehoboth Beach’s first historic marker is dedicated to Silver Lake and Lake Comegys because of their importance during the War of 1812. Furthermore, they are the only freshwater lakes in the State of Delaware and iconic environmental features of the area.  SOLA3 worked with Speaker Schwartzkopf and Senator Lopez to co-sponsor the marker and with Delaware’s Historical Commission on the text for the sign, that was dedicated August 25, 2014.

 

 

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© 2017 Save Our Lakes Alliance 3. Photos © TJ Redefer and Peggy Douglas. All Rights Reserved.