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  • Dutch Settlers Arrive
    The site of the Canal Front Park has been at the heart of Lewes, Delaware since the year 1631. This is where the earliest Dutch settlers created their homes and built and launched their ships. 1631
  • Ship Building is Booming
    by 1677, an active shipbuilding industry dominated the site 1677
  • Fire in the Hole
    During the War of 1812, a cannon battle was waged across the canal with British invaders 1812
  • River pilots homes Grow
    River pilots began to build large, tall homes along the canal in the 19th century. From the roofs, they could see ships that came to anchor in Delaware Bay.
  • Lets Dig
    Congress approved funding for the construction of a canal six feet deep and 50 feet wide to run from the mouth of the Lewes Creek to the Broadkill River and join with a second route from Rehoboth Beach.
  • Fishing goes Offshore
    In 1956, the Lewes menhaden catch was still the highest in the nation. However, DDT contaminants from upriver and over-harvesting led to a decline in the local fish population that would last for 20 years. Fishermen from Lewes began to go offshore. 1956
  • Lewes Boatyard and Marina
    In 1974, Dick Thompson purchased a row of wooden houses along the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and created the Lewes Boatyard and Marina for pilot boats that ferried the Delaware Bay pilots to large ships offshore. 1974
  • Business Continues
    Dale Parsons bought the business in the mid-1980s. He operated the boatyard and tackle shop until 1993. 1980's
  • Canal Front Park Seed is Planted!
    In 1999, developers proposed a large retail and residential complex at the site. Alarmed citizens and the Greater Lewes Foundation took action and planted the seeds for what would become the Canalfront Park. 1999
  • Construction Starts
    The first phase of the CFP construction, known as the Marina and Site Improvement Contract, was started in early 2006. This included the marina, the boardwalk up to and including the fishing pier and the planting beds immediately adjacent to the boardwalk. It was completed in about six months later. 2006
  • Restrooms, Overlook and Site Improvements
    The second phase, known as the Restrooms, Overlook and Site Improvements Contract, was started in the summer of 2007. It included the restrooms, overlook pier and deck, shade arbors, gazebo, gravel walkways and planting beds from the Inn up to the Net House. This work took about a year to complete. 2007
  • Final Phase Underway
    The final phase, known as the Village Green Site improvements was started in the Fall of 2008 and completed in early 2009. It included the parking lot, the village green, and planting beds and walkways from the Net House to the tennis and basketball courts. 2008
  • Time to Play
    The playground was a separate project constructed shortly after the Village Green was completed.