The Historic Odessa Foundation has announced the acquisition of a 42-acre open tract of land bordering the Corbit-Sharp House to the Appoquinimink River in Southern New Castle County.
The purchase will allow the foundation to explore opportunities for expanded community programming and broader interpretation of Odessa’s history. The land was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. William Buckworth, who in turn had purchased the property from the family of Delaware preservationist H. Rodney Sharp in 1983.
Known locally to walkers and nature enthusiasts as Buckworth’s Mile, the land was originally acquired by H. Rodney Sharp during his restoration efforts in Odessa in the first half of the 20th century. It is known that Sharp, possibly with the assistance of Landscape Architect Marian Cruger Coffin, was working on his vision of Odessa’s current colonial revival townscape between 1938 and the early 1940’s.
Prior to that time, during the town’s earliest history, the waterfront and surrounding property would have been populated with businesses, wharfs, warehouses, boathouses and other industries that drove the economic engine of Cantwell’s Bridge, as Odessa was named until 1855. In the 18th-century, William Corbit established his tannery along the top edge of the field and a cannery and a creamery were both active in the area from the 19th century to the 20th century.
The field is an archaeological site, and research is underway to determine its archaeological history which could include Native American and early Dutch periods.
The foundation plans to create a marked interpretive walking trail open to the visiting public. Over the course of the past few years, the foundation has cleaned up the woods behind its Wilson-Warner House with the goal of making this part of the new trail system. In addition, they will place wood duck nesting and bluebird boxes in appropriate areas to encourage wildlife, protect the box turtle habitat and work to preserve and interpret the history of the watermen who depended on the river.