1928 photo from the Evening Journal, 1967, Courtesy Delaware Historical Society.
Greetings from Deemer Beach
Postcards from Delaware Historical Society Collection
As shown in the 1925 aerial photo
to the left, or a different view
, Deemer Beach was situated off Rte 9 south of New Castle on "Lighthouse Rd", now Grantham Lane,
near the current Printpack plant.
The "Lighthouse" (actually a "range light") is in the lower left of the photo. The lighthouse keeper's
house is still standing, and was nominated for historical structure status. Currently the area is an industrial park, but in
its heyday, it was a different matter.
As described in the 1967 article
in the Evening Journal, the park
had amusements (a merry-go-round and a sky-swing), bathing beach in the river in a dike-protected pool,
dance hall (scene of at least one marathon dance), and a picnic area for day-trippers from Philadelphia via
steamer, or via trolley from New Castle or Wilmington.
It closed due to a combination of finances, the death of its builder, Seldon Deemer, and extensive
damage by a hurricane.
The park was nestled between the range light and a former munitions factory!
From the Federal Writers Project (1938), p 467
River Road. Left on this road to the Delaware Rayon Plant, now making
artificial silk, but during the World War, a Bethlehem Steel plant that loaded
thousands of heavy artillery shells. The workers, including many women, were
called "powder monkeys" -- their skins stained a deep yellow from picric acid.
[Frances Haut said that some girls who worked at the plant lived on Delaware Street across
from the Courthouse. Their building was known locally as 'the canary house' ].
At 0.3 m on this road is Deemer's Beach on the Delaware River shore (bathing
facilities and amusement devices).
At 2.4 miles (R) is a small lighthouse called New Castle Range, Rear Pilots on
vesssels coming up the river keep this light and the front range light on the shore
in a line over the bow in order to stay in the ship channel.
Jim Meek '08