The Vulgarity of an Ocean Front Cottage

11 Aug

One of my favorite houses in Rehoboth is right around the corner from me at the corner of Park Avenue and First Street.  It’s called Mon Plaisir and it was the home of social maven Mrs. H.B. Thompson.  Those of you who have read my book will recognize her as the force behind mosquito eradication in Rehoboth in the 1920s.

Mrs. H.B. was an opinionated woman.  She didn’t believe in the vote for women and she detested red lipstick.  She also considered a cottage right on the ocean to be “vulgar.”  Huh?

Here’s an excerpt from her memoirs that appeared in the late 70’s in Delaware History, the only scholarly journal devoted to the history of Delaware

Some of my friends thought I should have built my house on the beach, but I didn’t for several reasons:  the glare of the sun; the incessant noise of the waves; the dampness, the mists and the wind constantly blowing from the ocean, so that it is an impossibility to enjoy sitting on the porch.  My home is thoroughly screened, and the air blows from every direction through French doors.  Enormous porches on all sides with plenty of chairs, chaise lounge and hammock make an ideal resting place.  Returning from the beach, where you can enjoy sun as well as sea baths, and entering my garden, a sense of peace and shadowy coolness pervades all, and the tall pines cast their perfume in the air.  The ground is covered with pine needles and the blue fence surrounding the property is overgrown with roses in continual bloom.

 Wouldn’t you know, I had an opportunity to attend a political event in the house, and while everyone else was sipping wine, yours truly was snapping a few photos.

One of several drawings and paintings of the house.

Living Room

The fireplace is built with bricks from the old Cape Henlopen lighthouse, which toppled into the Atlantic in during a storm in 1926. The lighthouse was the sixth one built in the American colonies in 1767. The painting over the mantle is of the lighthouse on the Great Dune.

The screened porch, where Mrs. H.B. Thompson liked to sit after a hot day on the beach or tending to her roses.

How to tell who was ringing and where.

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