Tour to offer a peek inside historic homes of Ocean View

The Ocean View Historical Society is giving residents and visitors the unique opportunity to get an inside look at some of the most historic homes in Ocean View on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind tour, in that this is the only Ocean View Historic House Tour planned. Then we’ll move on to another town and do one,” said OVHS Board Member Carol Psaros of the group’s inaugural house tour.

Limited tickets for the tour are available for purchase at the Ellen Rice Gallery in Ocean View and Made By Hand in South Bethany. Tickets cost $20 each for current OVHS members and $30 for non-members. They may also be purchased online through the society’s website.

Seven historic homes will be on the tour, with docents located at each one. Proceeds will benefit OVHS projects and the future Coastal Towns Museum, which is planned to be located on the OVHS’s historical complex.

OVHS President “Barbara Slavin and Lena Kuhblank selected the houses. They did that from their knowledge of Ocean View. They just inquired of owners who were around — some are year-round and some are part-time. They just picked the best featured homes that had history tied to them.”

The idea was presented by Slavin and OVHS member Kimberly Grimes, and this will be just the first of tours to come from the OVHS and Coastal Towns Museum group, said Psaros.

“It was a decision of both groups — the Coastal Towns Museum and the board of the Ocean View Historical Society — to have a historic house tour in each of the towns,” she said. “This year it will be in Ocean View. Next year will be Fenwick, and the following year will be Bethany Beach.”

Psaros said the tours are part of a three-year fundraising plan that will help the organizations raise money for both the Coastal Towns Museum and the society’s future education center, Hall’s Store.

The seven homes on the tour are “smaller homes but big for their time.”

“The first house featured will be the Evans-West house, which some people have been through, because we had the house dedication party in the spring,” said Psaros of the home that was donated by the Brunner family and will eventually serve as the Coastal Towns Museum.

Although it is not officially on the house tour, the Tunnell-West House — part of the historical society’s complex at 39 Central Avenue — will also be open for house tour attendees.

Altogether, the tour homes and historical complex offer insight into Ocean View’s history and that of Sussex County, with towns and homes that were created starting in the late 1600s but evolved, particularly in the early 1900s.

“Some have been more renovated than others, but we tried to pick ones that still had the idyllic atmosphere of the turn-of-the-century homes,” said Psaros. “Remember, Ocean View was founded in 1889, but people had lived there for a couple hundred years before that. Then, it was called Hall’s Store. Then it became Ocean View when it incorporated. All these towns in southeast Sussex County and across Delaware really have a rich history.”

Ticket pickup will be on the day of the event at the historical complex, in the Tunnell-West House, located at 39 Central Avenue, Ocean View. Tickets are limited, so those wishing to take part in the tour are being encouraged to purchase online at or call (302) 539-8814 or email for more information.