Historical society offers lecture on area’s history

Date Published: 
January 10, 2014

Next week, the Ocean View Historical Society will be offering a free history lecture to discuss the origins of Sussex County.

“It’s going to be a presentation of the origins of Sussex County, the evolution of a little hamlet called Hall’s Store,” explained Richard Nippes, who will be giving the presentation, “that evolving into Ocean View — a community with very high standards and values — and a little bit about the story of Ocean View and its future.”

The lecture will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at Ocean View Town Hall.

“I know most people down here are transplants and they have little or no knowledge or interest, per say, but at least if they hear about it, they’d have some idea of the struggles and everything that went on in this town to make it what it is today.”

Although the talk focuses on Ocean View, Nippes said its evolution is similar to that of other nearby communities, and they share some unique artifacts.

“The story of Ocean View is similar to what transpires in other coastal towns around, like Millville and various other towns,” he said. “Basically, this is a way to educate people about how this area came into being. What life was like for people, and the struggles and achievements they have made. We’re just trying to preserve that and give some people an idea of their heritage.”

Nippes said that the lectures generally have approximately 100 attendees and added that light refreshments will be available for guests.

“They’ve been very well received,” he said. “A lot of people find it very interesting to hear about things like Sussex County was originally part of Maryland. It had a number of names before it became Sussex County.”

The Ocean View Historical Society, a nonprofit organization, seeks to preserve and educate the public on the area’s coastal towns.

“We hope to be able to build a museum where we can show the artifacts and share the stories that we’ve been given or told regarding the development of this area, from its inception back in 1688, when Matthew Scarborough was given the land grant, which centers around Ocean View, and how people started various little industries, like woodworking, shipbuilding and all the other things this area was known for, and how it evolved into the bigger town that it is today.”

Nippes, who is an active member of the historical society, has spent years doing research on the town’s history and played an integral part in helping get the Tunnel-West House listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Most of it I’ve picked up through going through the [Delaware] Achieves. A great deal of it, and probably the most knowledgeable person in the area in terms of the total history, is Mayor [Gordon] Wood,” said Nippes. “He’s written a book. A lot of things I’ll be using basically came from him. He’s the main interest, in terms of knowledge.”

Nippes said he hopes members of the community will attend the event and learn something new about the town.

“For those who are interested in how this area came into being, this is the time to come and learn about who was involved and were the key players,” he added. “It’s just an offering to the community by the historical society, to showcase the history and architecture that was characteristic of this particular area of Sussex County.”

The Ocean View Historical Society’s historical lecture will be held at Ocean View Town Hall, at 32 West Avenue in Ocean View. For more information on the Tunnell-West House, visit www.ovhistoricalsociety.org. The Tunnell-West House is located at 39 Central Avenue in Ocean View.