“Lost Delaware” Tells the Forgotten Stories of the First State

Written by former News Journal reporters, Lost Delaware shares tales of the past that helped to color the region.

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Even lifelong Delawareans will learn new stories in Lost Delaware, a new book written by wife-and-husband authors Rachel Kipp and Dan Shortridge, both former News Journal reporters.

Building on a previous project titled Secret Delaware, which highlighted the history of present-day gems, the duo describes their recent release as “a chronicle of Delaware’s colorful past and of its vibrant people.”

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Shortridge and Kipp recall parts of our state that have faded away, arranged in vignettes on themes like sports, agriculture, eating, business and education.

“One of the fun things about reading books like this is you just get an idea of the culture of a particular place,” Kipp says.

Readers will learn, for example, how local farmers sold 10 million quarts of strawberries in 1899, and why there are only a few strawberry farms left now.

There’s also the “Hey, I remember that” pleasure of more recent entries, like the Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant in Dover, which closed in 2014. There, patrons could enjoy the house specialty, muskrat platters (like the restaurant itself, a bit of a fading taste).

Lost Delaware
Lost Delaware cover

Some lost history was simply bulldozed. People don’t realize there are few protections for historic places, Shortridge notes. A listing on the National Register of Historic Places “adds no protection at all,” he says—it merely documents the details. “The purpose of the book is really all about keeping our history alive.”

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A portion of sales will support the nonprofit Preservation Delaware.

Related: A History of Home Architecture in Delaware

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