Attractions June 21, 2018
This Old Port Town In Delaware Has A Fascinating History
I’m sure you’ve driven past a sign for the town of Odessa – but have you ever stopped to visit? Many Delawareans drive past Odessa every day and have no idea what a gem is hiding just below the canal! Read below to learn the story of this town and take a step back in time by visiting today.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
The town started off as Cantwell's Bridge, when a toll bridge was opened over the Appoquinimink Creek by a member of the Cantwell Family, in 1721.
Cantwell's Bridge quickly became a big port town, and notable Americans established their homes in this important spot.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, ships from Cantwell's Bridge brought wheat, corn, produce and tobacco down towards the Delaware Bay. As the port flourished, so did the town.
In 1855, the railroad was built through nearby Middletown, causing the port at Cantwell's Bridge to lose traffic. Townsfolk renamed the town Odessa, after the famous Russian/Ukranian port city. They were hoping the name change would help their situation.
The railroad did eventually cause the end of the port town, but today, the Historic Odessa Foundation has preserved notable homes and buildings. Most of the town is recognized as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visiting Odessa is like stepping back in time! Have a meal at Cantwell's Tavern while you're here for an experience in colonial dining.
This historic tavern was once a stagecoach stop and hotel for travelers coming through Cantwell's Bridge.
Today, you can dine on traditional meals with a modern twist. The food here is just as delicious as it has always been.
For another way to enjoy life in historic Odessa, visit during the Historic Odessa Foundation's Annual Brewfest, which is held in September. Attend to enjoy great food and drinks while you learn about the town's history.
For more great information about programs, events, and historic home tours in Odessa, visit the
Historic Odessa Foundation website.
One very cool thing about living in the First State is all of the historic places we get to see, first-hand! Here are
9 Places In Delaware Where You Can Step Back Into Colonial America.
What’s your favorite historic town in Delaware? Tell us in the comments!