Charles S. Horn was
born in Dover, Delaware in March of 1860. The son of carriage builder Charles
W. Horn and Emma Matilda (Jones) Horn, he graduated from high school in Wilmington
in 1878. Upon graduation, he formed the Diamond Printing Company with Harry
Billany. The company remained in operation for ten years, at which time, Horn
relocated to Rehoboth Beach. Horn had first visited Rehoboth as early as 1882
to spend summer vacations. He married Anna T. Ritchie in the early 1880s and
had three sons: William A. Horn (1885-1970), Albert Egmont Horn (1890-1949),
and Charles S. Horn, Jr. (1899-1975). Of his children, only Charles S. Horn, Jr.
played an active role in his father’s various business dealings.
Upon arrival in
Rehoboth, Horn pursued numerous business opportunities. In 1892, he
constructed one of the first cottages at the beach located on Baltimore Avenue.
Horn’s first significant business venture, constructed in the late 1880s, was
an emporium to be located on a pier extending into the ocean from the foot of
the existing boardwalk. The emporium became known as Horn’s Pavilion and
included a recreation room, dance hall, and theater. During this time, Horn
expanded his business domain to include a complete line of novelty items, such
as post cards and other souvenirs, to be sold in his store, a motion picture
theater, and a roller rink. The store was destroyed twice by storms and
following a storm in 1914, was torn down. Horn proceeded to move his emporium
into space already occupied by a motion picture theater and roller rink located
at 5 and 7 Rehoboth Avenue.
Horn’s involvement in
the community of Rehoboth Beach was not simply that of a businessman. He also
served as tax collector, was an officer of the local Chamber of Commerce,
president of the New Rehoboth Bath and Tennis Club, member of the Improved
Order of Red Men and the Free and Accepted Masons, and was director of the
Lewes and Rehoboth Building and Loan Association. Horn died in 1938.
Charles S. Horn,
Jr. Interview with David G. Menser, August 6, 1968. Mss 179 Robert H.
Richards, Jr. Delaware Oral History Collection.
Lloyd ed., History of Delaware Past and Present, Lewis
Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York: 1929. Vol. IV pp. 337-338.
Additional biographical information
derived from the collection.
Scope and Contents Note
The Charles S.
Horn ledgers contain two ledgers, correspondence, a certificate of
incorporation, and a payroll book. The two ledgers document the sales and
income of Horn’s numerous business investments. One spans the years 1902 until
1913. The second repeats the material but also continues to record entries
until July of 1927. These ledgers contain cash sale records of total amount
grossed, total number of sales, total sales of candy, soda, ice cream, and
later, jewelry. Income received from the roller rink and the motion picture
theater is also recorded. Both ledgers note payroll expenses and employee
schedules. Notations regarding the weather are included, as are notations
related to dances held and group excursions, all of which had a direct impact
on sales. The second ledger, while recording the same information as the first,
is a more complete record of the progress of Horn’s various business interests
and of the Rehoboth Beach area as a vacation destination. The earliest years
represented in the ledgers indicate that the vacation season began around the
middle of May and ended around the middle of September. By 1927, the last year
denoted in the ledger, the vacation season had expanded considerably to include
the months of April through November.
Also included in the
collection is a payroll book that covers the period of 1908 to 1912. The book
notes employee’s names, schedules, and wages. The correspondence consists of a
letter from James G. Horn to the Secretary of the State of Delaware inquiring
about the status of the certificate of incorporation for the Rehoboth Pier and
Improvement Company, established by Charles S. Horn in 1904 and a reply stating
that the certificate had lapsed and the corporation was voided by the governor
in 1908. An original copy of the certificate of incorporation is included.
Also among the correspondence is a letter from the Captain of the Corps of
Engineers dated November 1904, acknowledging that he had inspected the pier and
it met government specifications.
MS 96, Item 75 Rehoboth Beach
Voter Registers and Tax Assessments
MS 179 Robert H.
Richards, Jr. Delaware Oral History Collection
Box -- Contents
1 Ledger 1-1902-1913
Includes daily records of total
gross, total sales, income from candy, and income from soda. Also included are
income from various other forms of recreation operated by Horn including a pool
hall, dances, a punching bag, scales, and a barber. Additional information is
recorded such as the coming and going of employees and notes on weather which
affected sales. Of particular interest is a note regarding a fire that
occurred on August 16, 1912 and which destroyed the Horn home at 10 Baltimore
Avenue and portions of a casino for a loss totally $5000. Laid in to the
ledger is letterhead from Delaware Farm and Home, an agricultural
publication. On the verso are figures of total income from the months of June
through September from 1902 until 1911. Also laid it is a note related to the
fire of August 16, 1912 and the storm of December 4, 1914, which precipitated the tearing down of Horn’s Pavilion in addition to two other
miscellaneous notes and sales figures.
Contains comparisons of daily cash
sales for the months of June through September from 1902 until 1906. Beginning
in 1907, total daily sales are recorded by month with separate entries for
income from a pool hall, “Jap store,” and moving picture theater. Income from
dances and other forms of recreation are also noted within the ledger. By
1909, Horn’s business had expanded and entries were made for additional sources
of income such as slot machines, a roller rink, and a drug store. Beginning in
1913, notations were made on the weather, employees, and other occurrence that
directly impacted sales figures.
2 Payroll Book, 1908-1913
Alphabetical listing of employees
including dates of employment, many of which have no years recorded. Includes
a record of each employee’s wages and the method of payment.
3 Correspondence and Certificate of
Includes correspondence related to
the construction of a “small recreation pier,” which later became part of
Horn’s Pavilion. Contains notification of permission for construction by the
Corps of Engineers dated May 19, 1904 and a certificate of incorporation for
the Rehoboth Pier and Improvement Company, a corporation established by Horn to
construct the pier dated July 19, 1904. Also included is a letter from the
Captain of the Corps of Engineers to Charles Horn dated November 17, 1904 stating that he has inspected the pier and found it to be within specifications as
well as correspondence from James G. Horn to Elisha Dukes, Delaware Secretary
of State, dated January 12 and January 17, 1961, inquiring about the
incorporation status of the Rehoboth Pier and Improvement Company. Dukes
replied that the corporation was declared void by the governor in 1908 for
nonpayment of taxes.