Bring Back Shaw Park!
A grassroots movement is underway in Rehoboth to change the name for what we know as Grove Park back to its original name, Shaw Park. The project is spearheaded by Judy Atkinson and supported by local historian Paul Lovett who wrote this interesting history of the park.
Lovett says the park originally got its name from Benjamin F. Shaw who gave this property to the city for the purpose of providing visitors a place to camp. The half-acre wooded park was adjacent to and on the north side of the railroad tracks next to the canal. For 70 years it was known as Shaw Park. By the 1990s, however, townsfolk voted to discontinue the park’s lease because in the eyes of non-campers, the camp had fallen into disrepair. Age-old camper trailers were removed and the park went through a makeover. It was at that time that the park was renamed Grove Park.
It is not likely that those who sought the park’s name change were aware of the historic significance of its benefactor, Lovett points out. Shaw was one of several wealthy cottage owners on Surf Avenue (what is now the boardwalk between Baltimore and Maryland avenues) during the early 20th century. He made his fortune as the founder of a Wilmington steam piping company. He served on the boards of several organizations, civic and philanthropical, in both Wilmington and Rehoboth.
Lovett has found that Shaw even completely financed the construction and outfitting of the first Beebe Hospital in 1924 and he financed a major addition to that hospital in 1927.
“Now in 2021,” Lovett says, “it is time to re-dedicate the park to its former name, Shaw Park.”