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Lewes, Delaware

  •   State: 
    Sussex County
      County FIPS: 
    38°46′28″N 75°08′22″W
      Area total: 
    5.11 sq mi (13.25 km²)
      Area land: 
    4.19 sq mi (10.86 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.92 sq mi (2.39 km²)
    13 ft (4 m)
    Incorporated February 2, 1818
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Salisbury, MD-DE
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    787.93 residents per square mile of area (304.21/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Income taxes: 

Lewes was the site of the first European settlement in Delaware, a whaling and trading post that Dutch settlers founded on June 3, 1631. Lewes was incorporated by an act of the state assembly on Feb. 2, 1818. The town was also known as "Lewistown" or "Lewestown". On April 6 and 7, 1812, Royal Navy vessels led by HMS Poictiers under the command of Captain Sir John Beresford briefly and ineffectually bombarded the town. In 1941, the U.S. built Fort Miles on Cape Henlopen, immediately south of Lewes, to defend Delaware Bay and the Delaware River and the oil refineries on its shores. Fort Miles never saw any major action; except it fired its guns once its establishment and the end of World War II. In addition to the addition to Fort Miles, the Cape HenLopen Archelopen Archeological District, Historic Harbor of Delaware Breakwater, National Harbor of the Delaware and Lewes Presbyterian Church have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The city lies within the Salisbury, MarylandDelaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lewes proudly claims to be "The First Town in The First State." Lewes Beach itself was an important stop on the Underground Railroad in the years leading up to the American Civil War. As a "border state," Delaware was not part of the Confederacy, but was still quite dangerous for fugitive enslaved people. Several houses in Lewes thus housed escaping enslaved people; these "safe houses" were identified by the residents placing a single candle in the top window of the house.


Lewes was the site of the first European settlement in Delaware, a whaling and trading post that Dutch settlers founded on June 3, 1631. The colony had a short existence, as a local tribe of Lenape Native Americans wiped out the 32 settlers in 1632. In 1664, the English captured New Netherland from the Dutch, and they ordered the settlement razed with reports indicating that not even a nail was left there. Lewes became and remained the county seat of Sussex County until 1791, when it was moved to a more west-central county location, the current town of Georgetown. On April 6 and 7, 1813, during the War of 1812, Royal Navy vessels led by HMS Poictiers briefly and ineffectually bombarded the town. In 1941, the United States built Fort Miles on Cape Henlopen, immediately south of Lewes, to defend Delaware Bay and the Delaware River. Fort Miles never saw any major action; except for range practice, it fired its guns only once between its establishment and the end of World War II.Lewes Beach itself was an important stop on the Underground Railroad in the years leading up to the American Civil War. The town was also known as "Lewistown" or "Lewestown". The town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places on the Mayoral Register of sites on the Delaware coastline. The city's name is derived from the word "Lewes," which means "town" in Dutch.


Lewes is located at 38°4628N 75°0822W (38.7745565, 75.1393498). The city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11 km²), of which 3.7 sq mi (9.6 km²) is land, and 0.6 sq km² (1.6km²) (14.7%) is water. Lewes has a mild humid subtropical climate (Cfa) consisting of hot, humid summers and mild winters. The month of highest average rainfall is July with 4.78 inches of rain, while February is historically the driest month, receiving an average of only 3.23 inches (80.5 mm) of rain. The lowest official temperature ever recorded in Lewes was -11 °F (-28.8 °C) in 1982. The city is located on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and its weather is moderated by the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay. The average daytime high in July is 87 °F (30.6 °C), and the average daytime low in January is 70°F (21 °C). Lewes's highest official temperature was 102 °F in 1997, and the lowest official Temperature ever recorded was -11°F in 1982, when the temperature was -28°F. It is located in the eastern part of the state, between Delaware Bay and the New Jersey Turnpike. It has a population of 2,816.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,932 people, 1,338 households, and 797 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 9.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0. 1% Pacific Islander, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.7%. The city's population was spread out, with 13.6% under the age of 18, 3. 7% from 18 to 24, 18.0%, 31.5% from 45 to 64, and 33.1%. The median age was 55 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over,there were 76.1 males. The median income for a household in theCity was $66,387, and the median income. for a family was $72,605. The per capita income for the city is $36,685. About 11% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those age 65 or over. The average household size was 1.99 and the average family size was 2.53. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the city has a population of 2.932, with 2,368 housing units at an average density of 647.3 per square mile (249.9/km²). The city is located on the Mississippi River.


Lewes is served by the Cape Henlopen School District. Lewes School first opened as a multi-grade school in 1921 and became Lewes High School by 1946. The University of Delaware's Hugh R. Sharp Campus is also within the city. It is home to the University's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. The city is zoned to: Richard Shields Elementary School and CapeHenlopen High School. Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences is not in the city but is in the nearby city of Georgetown. It will be repurposed as the new Richard A. Shields Elementary. Sussex Consortium, a school for students with autism, is now in an unincorporated area with a Lewes address. It was consolidated into the CapeHenLopen district in 1969. It initially held Cape HenLopen High school when it opened in 1969, but it is now the sole comprehensive high school of the district. The school will be called Lewes Elementary School when it is completed in 2015. It also will be known as Lewes Middle School and Sussex High School when the school is finished in 2016. It has been announced that Sussex Consortium will become the new Sussex Middle School in 2017, and will be named Sussex Academy. The former Sussex Consortium is now known as Sussex Consortium School for Students with Autism, and it will be located in Sussex County, Delaware, with an address in Lewes. It opened in 2010. It first opened in the 1970s and is now part of the Capehenlopen district.

Arts and culture

Lewes is home to the Zwaanendael Museum, which features exhibits about Delaware's history. Fisherman's Wharf is a dock that stretches along the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. Savannah, Second and Front Streets are the town's main streets and have many shops, restaurants, parks and historical venues. Lewes in Bloom is an organization that promotes and maintains the beauty of Historic Lewes. Just offshore lies the National Harbor of Refuge which is home. to the Delaware Breakwater East End Light and the Harbor of. Refuge Light. The United States Lightship Overfalls (LV-118/WAL-539), one of nine surviving lightships at museums in the United States, is moored in Lewes along theLewes. and ReHoboth canal. The Lewes Historical Society promotes the preservation, interpretation and cultural enrichment of the region through museum exhibits, educational programs, historical research and publications. In 2012 and 2015, Lewes was honored in the AIB Circle of Champions. for cities with population under 5,000. The city limits primarily sit on the lower reach of the Delaware Bay, but it is nonetheless considered an ocean resort, particularly as the ocean is nearby at Cape Henlopen. It is one of only a handful of communities in the U.S. to have banned smoking in its public parks. The town is also home to several iconic Lighthouses in the DelawareBay, including the Delaware breakwater East end light and the Delaware Harbor of refuge light.

Parks and recreation

Lewes is adjacent to Cape Henlopen State Park. DNREC maintains a boat ramp just outside the city limits along the Broadkill River, adjacent to the Roosevelt Inlet. Lewes also maintains several parks within the city Limits:Blockhouse Pond Park, Stango Park, Cannonball Park, Canalfront Park, Mary Vessels Park, George H.P. Smith Park, Great Marsh Park, Zwaanendael Park & Herb Garden. The city also has a beach, Lewes Beach, and a city park. The town is located in the eastern part of the Delaware River valley, between the towns of Lewes and Doylestown. It is located on the eastern side of the Broadkill River, and the western side of the Roosevelt Ingle Inlet, which is the city's main waterway. It has a population of about 2,000. It also has one of the largest parks in the United States, Blockhouse Pond, which was built in the early 20th century. It was named after a former mayor of the city, George W. Smith, who was a member of Congress from the 1950s to the 1970s. The park was named for Smith's son, George, who served as mayor from 1961 to 1973. The current mayor, David Lewes, was elected in 2008. The mayor's office has been in charge of the park system since the early 1980s, when it was first established.


Lewes is primarily policed by the Lewes Police Department and Delaware State Police. For EMS Lewes is serviced by theLewes Volunteer Fire Department. Lewes was served by a branch of the Delaware Coast Line Railroad that originated in Georgetown. Passenger trains operated on this branch by its predecessor company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, but ended between 1936 and 1938. A rail with trail known as the Georgetown-Lewes Trail opened along the railroad line on October 19, 2016, with future plans to extend the trail to Georgetown. The Lewes Board of Public Works (BPW) provides electricity, water, and sewer service to the city. The city purchases power from the Delmarva Power Constellation, which is transmitted over the city's power lines. The Cape MayLewes Ferry provides passenger and automobile ferry service between southern Delaware and southern New Jersey, crossing the Delaware Bay to North Cape May, New Jersey. The ferry crossing is 17 miles (27 km) long and takes 85 minutes. Cape Water Tours & Taxi operates a round-trip water taxi service between Lewes and Dewey Beach on Friday evenings in the summer months, offering access to dining and nightlife in Dewey beach. The Delaware River and Bay Authority operates a shuttle bus route that connects the Cape May Lewes Ferry to the Tanger Outlets and Rehoboth Beach. The City of Lewes operates Lewes Line bus service serving points of interest in the city daily from May to September. A former Penn Central Railroad right-of-way runs 6 miles (9.7 km) through Lewes.

Notable events

On August 21, 2013, a helicopter reportedly dumped $10,000 in multiple dollar bill denominations over Lewes Harbor in the fulfillment of a deceased local resident's last wish. The event was one of the largest helicopter landings in U.S. history. It was also the second-largest helicopter landing in the history of the city of Lewes. The largest helicopter landing was in 1881, when a helicopter landed in the town's harbor and dumped $1.5 million in bills. The biggest helicopter landing on the city's history was in 1903, when the U.K. Coast Guard landed on the shore and landed $1,000,000 on the harbor. The most recent helicopter landing took place in 2010, when it landed $2,500,000 over the town of Camden, Delaware. The highest number of helicopters to land in Lewes was in 2007, when $2.5 billion was dumped over the city in honor of a local resident who had recently died. The city's largest harbor landing was on August 20, 2012, when an aircraft landed with a total of $3,500 in bill denominations. The last helicopter landing occurred on August 17, 2013. The total number of aircraft to land on Lewes in one day was three, and it was followed by two more on August 18, and three on August 19, and then two more the next day. The helicopter landed on August 22, and on August 23, and the final day was August 24, and August 25, respectively.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware = 25.1. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 43. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 40. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Lewes = 3.9 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 3,303 individuals with a median age of 58.3 age the population grows by 0.72% in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 787.93 residents per square mile of area (304.21/km²). There are average 1.92 people per household in the 1,398 households with an average household income of $64,932 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 8.30% of the available work force and has dropped -1.64% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 28.42%. The number of physicians in Lewes per 100,000 population = 184.2.


The annual rainfall in Lewes = 45.5 inches and the annual snowfall = 12.4 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 115. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 206. 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 27.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 42, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware which are owned by the occupant = 41.58%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 30 years with median home cost = $510,150 and home appreciation of -2.83%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $4.43 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $8,508 per student. There are 13.6 students for each teacher in the school, 1468 students for each Librarian and 550 students for each Counselor. 5.46% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 24.66% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 17.94% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Lewes's population in Sussex County, Delaware of 2,259 residents in 1900 has increased 1,46-fold to 3,303 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 56.40% female residents and 43.60% male residents live in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware.

    As of 2020 in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware are married and the remaining 42.81% are single population.

  • 26 minutes is the average time that residents in Lewes require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    76.64% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 9.06% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 0.58% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 5.99% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware, 41.58% are owner-occupied homes, another 13.78% are rented apartments, and the remaining 44.63% are vacant.

  • The 28.62% of the population in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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