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Chilcoat honored for history project

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Interviews tell story of Rehoboth

For her four-year oral history project on the city's history, the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society presented its annual Preservation Award to Violet Chilcoat.

"I am just delighted," Chilcoat said of receiving the award. "I was really touched and very grateful.".

Starting in 2007, Chilcoat conducted 40 interviews with Rehoboth and West Rehoboth residents for the project, a retelling of the history of Rehoboth through the stories of those who lived there.

Featured were residents of Rehoboth and West Rehoboth and annual visitors to Rehoboth for at least 50 years. Chilcoat said the project was an effort by the society to develop an archive of an earlier Rehoboth.

"It's one of the most rewarding things I've done in Rehoboth because I've learned so much about the city I live in," she said.

In the first year of the project, Chilcoat's interviews were transcribed, but the last three years were all videotaped and converted to DVD.

Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Delaware Heritage Commission for the first two years, with additional funding from the late Warren MacDonald in the second year and John and Linda Darr, who helped fund the final three years of the project. Chilcoat thanked the Darrs and MacDonald in her acceptance speech.

Chilcoat has been active in the historical society since permanently moving to Rehoboth with her husband, Bruce, in the mid-1990s. She served on the society's board of directors in the late 1990s, and the Chilcoats' Queen Street home was selected for the society's residential Preservation Award in 2005.

Chilcoat's interviews have been added to the Rehoboth Beach Museum's permanent archive, althcugh she hopes as the museum's technological capabilities improve, the interviews can be shown to the public. Rehoboth Beach Historical Society President Paul Kuhns said the project was "an invaluable contribution to the museum's holdings. "

Chilcoat said, "It was just so personally enriching and gave me a much better appreciation of living in Rehoboth."

Visitors to Rehoboth Beach Museum may listen to the interviews by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 227-7310.

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Original Publication Date: January 6, 2012

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