On behalf of the Board of Directors it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Historic Odessa Foundation has just recently acquired the forty-two acre field in front of the Corbit-Sharp House adjacent to the Appoquinimink River.
The land was originally acquired by H. Rodney Sharp during his restoration efforts in Historic Odessa in the first half of the 20th-century. We know that Mr. Sharp, possibly with the assistance of Landscape Architect Marion Cruger Coffin, was working on his vision of our current Colonial Revival townscape between 1938 and the early 1940’s. In fact, Sharp removed a small hill, actually creating a swale that allowed the magnificent view of the Appoquinimink and its surrounding marsh to come to life. 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. We know that in the 18th-century William Corbit established his tannery along the top edge of the field and that a cannery and a creamery were both active in the area from the 1890’s into the 20th-century.
The Sharp family sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. William Buckworth in 1983. The Buckworth’s have been excellent stewards and have always graciously allowed the community to share in their enjoyment of this beautiful land, it’s waterfront, and the abounding natural wildlife. In fact, the field is known locally to walkers and nature enthusiasts as “Buckworth’s Mile”. Indeed, the Historic Odessa Foundation owes Bucky and Jeanne a sincere debt of gratitude for their sensitive care.
It is the intention of the Foundation to continue the tradition of allowing the community access to the property. HOF staff has already begun to explore opportunities for expanded community programing and broader interpretation of Odessa’s history. Through archeological research conducted by HOF Volunteer Archeologist John Bansch, we have identified locations of some former buildings and businesses once located between the Corbit-Sharp House, Garden, and the Appoquinimink River. It is our plan to create a marked interpretative walking trail open to our visiting public.
Some of you may have noticed that over the course of the last few years we have been diligently cleaning up the woods behind the Wilson-Warner House with the goal of making this part of the new trail system. In addition, we 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 rich history of the watermen who depended on the river.
Don’t miss John’s lecture on the Lost Corbit Tannery on March 25th and be sure to check our web-site regularly for new, exciting, and immersive programs. History is everywhere we look… and we remain committed to telling the stories!
Thank you for your Membership and continued support. These are exciting times for Historic Odessa and we are delighted to share them with you and your family!