Delaware December 27, 2016
The One Delaware Town With The Most Intriguing And Almost Unbelievable History
The town of Delmar spawns the southern border between Delaware and Maryland, and the town is jurisdictionally fluid, with no barrier between the states. The joint ventures between the states started with a sewage system in 1927, and eventually the two school systems joined after a strong fight from opponents in 1949. This little town has an incredible history – check it out below.
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The town of Delmar spawns, well, Delaware and Maryland.
It was established shortly after the railroad came to southern Delaware.
The town was created to connect the Maryland and Delaware rail lines.
Both railroad companies had charters that only allowed for construction in their respective states, so a town was built as a loophole to the charters.
The town grew and grew in both residential and commercial ways.
Sprawling farms and houses popped up close to the railroad line.
The main street area around the rail line added shops, churches and more.
Taverns and shops were a welcome respite for weary travelers making their way across the state.
However, the town's growth and success was stopped by two devastating fires, in 1892 and 1901.
A small fire started in the back of the Post Office in August of 1892 on Main Street and it quickly grew and spread to every business place in town, as well as most homes east of the train tracks. Three hundred people were left homeless. The Salisbury Advertiser explained the situation to residents of the nearby town:
The burned district extends from Grove street on the north, down Railroad avenue on the west three squares south to Elizabeth street, east from Railroad avenue two squares to Second street. In this territory stood every business house, the hotel, Methodist Episcopal Church and the railroad station, all of which were burned. The fire did no damage west of the railroad track. The origin of the conflagration is supposed to have been the igniting of a match by a mouse in an old sugar barrel which stood in the hall on the second floor of the post office building.
The Salisbury fire service responded promptly to an appeal for help, but owing to the fact Delmar is an inland town, with no artificial water supply, and having no natural streams nearer than two miles, our boys could do little toward keeping up a stream of water. What water they did get was drawn off the tanks of a number of engines. The town rebuilt, but by 1901, another devastating fire swept through the town and again burned it to the ground. The town's residents rebuilt it, and it was quickly thriving again. It wasn't until 1911 that the town had its own water pumps for fire suppression.
Once the town was rebuilt, it boomed around the success of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Station was a major part of Delmar life in the early 1900s.
Here you can see the bustling station in 1905, with travelers and residents waiting for their rides out of town.
Shops were built along the rail line and commerce boomed.
The train brought experienced railmen to the area, as it became an important changeover for travelers moving through Virginia, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
Here you can see soldiers during World War II on the trail from Delmar, on their way to serve their country.
Today, Delmar remembers its historic past with signs through the town.
Landmarks like the Highball Signal, Dickerson Potato House and West Potato House are on the National Register of Historic Places, and the town still keeps its small town feel.
Delaware’s small towns really have some amazing history behind them. If you love the story of Delmar’s resilience, you might enjoy reading about the
history of other small towns in Delaware.