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Dolle’s sign may move to Rehoboth Beach Museum

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Dolles on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk

Dolle’s Sign may be headed to the Rehoboth Beach Museum soon. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

REHOBOTH BEACH — Visitors and residents of Delaware’s popular summer resort may be getting what they want: the iconic Dolle’s sign may be heading to the Rehoboth Beach Museum.

Mayor Stan Mills announced this week that the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society’s board of directors is open to taking the sign that has sat on top of 1 Rehoboth Ave. for decades. The city is still waiting for a feasibility report on the cost of relocating the aluminum-composite sign before a final decision can be made.

“The board of directors is very, very receptive to receiving the sign on top of its building, so long it does not mess up their roof,” Mills told the commissioners during the Oct. 4 meeting. “Then otherwise, it would be considered putting it on the face of the building or on the ground someplace.”

When contacted by the Delaware Business Times, the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society had no comment about the Dolle’s sign.

Since the end of 2020, residents and visitors have sent Rehoboth Beach officials emails and messages about the need to preserve the Dayglo-orange Dolle’s sign that has overlooked the boardwalk since 1962. Dolle’s owner Tom Ibach relocated the candy business to 9 Rehoboth Ave. this year after the rent on the corner store was raised too high for him to afford.

The Rehoboth Beach Museum at 511 Rehoboth Ave., less than a mile inland from Dolle’s, is the city’s haven for artifacts that trace the resort’s history. The museum was founded in 1975 and has rotating and permanent exhibits that teach locals and visitors about the evolution of the beach community, tracing from its simpler lifestyle to its identity as the nation’s summer capital today.

For almost a century, Dolle’s Candyland has been on Rehoboth Beach’s boardwalk when Philadelphian candymaker Thomas Pachides opened a storefront. The original Dolle’s sign was made by an unknown contractor in 1927 and stayed for decades until the storefront was destroyed in the Storm of 1962 that besieged Sussex County for two days in March.

Dolle’s was later rebuilt, and the wooden sign, framed with raw steel angle, was repaired and reinstalled. The sign survived another storm six years later, but it was finally blown down, face-down on the boardwalk during a storm in February 2002. Rogers Signs, of Milton, made a new sign that replicated the damaged one for $20,000 that year.

Ibach and the city are reportedly working on a schedule on when to remove the sign, and the Rehoboth Beach commissioners have retained Rogers Signs to study the cost of relocating it.

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