Event held in conjunction with Historic Odessa Foundation features tours of 18th century homes, colonial dancing, and open-hearth cooking demonstrations.


WHAT Delaware Historical Society celebration, History Lives! in Odessa

WHERE Historic Odessa Foundation, 201 Main St., Odessa

WHEN 3 to 6 p.m., Sunday, May 18

COST $20 for Delaware Historical Society members or $25 for non-members, with an optional private catered reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bank Building for $25 more.

RESERVATIONS Required by visiting the website dehistory.org or by calling (302) 655-7161

The Delaware Historical Society is inviting the public to step back in time to the 1700s during a special event on Sunday, May 18 in conjunction with the Historic Odessa Foundation.

The afternoon gathering with a colonial theme will feature tours of five historic houses and the gardens, along with a performance by the Dover English Country Dancers, an 18th century open-hearth cooking demonstration, and a silhouette artist.

“We are in the middle of our 150th anniversary celebration. As part of our sesquicentennial year, we have planned events at historically significant sites throughout the state,” said Marylynn Mack, Delaware Historical Society director of marketing and communications. “In particular, Odessa was selected for the scope and breadth of its collection and beautiful homes, buildings, and gardens.”

The Delaware Historical Society has members from all three counties, but you don’t have to be a member to attend this event. Non-members are welcome and encouraged to attend the Odessa festivities, Mack said.

The houses will be staffed by knowledgeable docents sharing a wealth of information, ranging from the extraordinary furniture collections to the families who lived in the beautifully-restored properties.

The afternoon program will close with a talk by Historic Odessa Foundation Executive Director Deborah Buckson at the Wilson-Warner Stone Barn.

“We are thrilled to host this event for the Delaware Historical Society,” said Buckson. “We look forward to the chance to show off the homes.”

What’s something that always surprises visitors when they tour the historic properties?

“I think people are stunned by the Corbit-Sharp house, and the long room is just breathtaking. It’s the second floor drawing room or ballroom,” Buckson explained. “People are amazed there’s a house of this architectural significance right here in Odessa.”

The Corbit-Sharp house is a National Historic Landmark, one of only 13 in Delaware, and it’s a National Park Service “Network to Freedom Site” on the Underground Railroad.

“It’s a very important colonial house that can really hold its head up with any Georgian house in Philadelphia from same period,” said Buckson.

While this special event is on Sunday, May 18, the Historic Odessa Foundation also offers tours of the homes from March through December, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. For information on admission fees and special group tours, see historicodessa.org or call (302) 378-4119.