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Iconic Dolle’s sign departs Rehoboth boardwalk

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The Dolle’s Sign, which weathered several storms and summers, has been removed from 1 Rehoboth Ave. | DBT PHOTO BY MARIA DEFORREST

REHOBOTH BEACH – The Dolle’s sign, which has weathered storms and decades of Delaware summers, is no longer overlooking the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.

Almost one year after it was announced that Dolle’s would leave 1. Rehoboth Ave., the sign was removed by Rogers Sign Company. The same company created the famous DayGlo Orange sign in 2002 after it was badly damaged in storm that year.

Dolle’s owner Tom Ibach has offered to donate the sign to Rehoboth Beach city officials, with the condition that if the city is no longer interested in maintaining it, it would be returned to him. For months, the city has debated the best location for it and whether the cost was worth it. Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills reported that one business owner offered to take it, but Ibach rejected the offer.

Ultimately, the sign will find a new home at the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society & Museum after it was removed for $30,000.

However, mounting the sign to the façade of the museum will require a variance from the Board of Appeals. Until a final destination has been determined Rehoboth Beach officials agreed to let the museum keep the sign in one of the city’s storage areas.

Dolle’s Candyland has been a Delaware icon since opened on the boardwalk in 1927 out of the former YMCA. Established first in 1910, Rudolph Dolle bought a salt water candy stand on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md. — and it later became Dolle’s primary enterprise after his nearby carousel burned down a few years later.

With Philadelphian candymaker Thomas Pachides, Dolle expanded the candy business to Rehoboth Beach in 1926. Thirty years later, Pachides bought out Dolle’s interest in the Delaware storefront. Today, Dolle’s Candy has four locations in Ocean City which are managed by Dolle’s descendants.

The original Rehoboth Beach Dolle’s storefront was destroyed in the Storm of 1962, but it was later rebuilt with the iconic orange Dolle’s sign that overlooks the boardwalk and the historic row of shops on Rehoboth Avenue. Ibach took over the Delaware candy business in 1984 after Pachides’ death.

The 1 Rehoboth Ave. property was sold to Grotto Pizza for $6 million in early 2021.

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