The view of the historic buildings on Main Street. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos /

Odessa, Delaware

Located in the "First State," Odessa is one of the oldest towns in the United States. The city was originally named Cantwell's Bridge in the 1800s, but the name changed to Odessa in the 19th century. The cobblestone streets and historic buildings of this town beautifully portray the rich history and culture of the state of Delaware.  

Geography Of Odessa 

Odessa is a small town located in the county of New Castle, Delaware. This small town which has an area of 0.51 square miles, is located in the northern part of the state at an elevation of 52 feet from sea level. It is 27 minutes away from the city of Dover, Delaware, and 28 minutes away from Wilmington, Delaware. US Route 13, the main route connecting the north to the south, passes through the town. State Route 299, which connects the east and west of the state, also passes through Odessa. 

One of the most prominent landforms in the town is the Appoquinimink River. This river flows west of Townsend, through Odessa, and into the northern end of Delaware Bay. It is 15.3 miles long and drains in a 47 square mile area on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The river is home to several types of fish like the Morene, Largemouth Bass, Common Carp, White Crappie, and Channel Catfish. 

Another prominent location in the town is the Odessa Memorial Park at 623 Main Street. The park has a playground, hiking trail, and large fields. The Old Academy Park is a quiet and relaxing location behind the Town Office. The parks and neighborhoods have incredible biodiversity with different types of trees at every corner, including oak-hickory, pine, red maple, loblolly pine, and oak-pine trees. Some of the native flowers in the area include the white yarrow, white baneberry, blue star, and Canadian columbine. The town is also home to many animal species, including whitetail deer, foxes, minks, otters, chipmunks, and others.

Climate Of Odessa

Odessa's location in the east of the United States has a semi-continental climate. This means that winters are moderate, and summers are sweltering. Temperatures reach their highest in July at around 87℉ and their lowest in January at around 25℉. May, June, and September are the most pleasant months, while January and February are the least pleasant due to the cold temperatures. Odessa gets an average of 45 inches of rain and 15 inches of snow yearly.  

With it being close to the ocean, the humidity levels in the town significantly increase in the summer but are low most of the year. The most humid months in the city are June, July, and August.  

Demographics Of Odessa 

According to a 2021 census, Odessa's total population was 394 individuals. 49.5% of the population is male, and 50.5% is female. The median resident age is 48.2 years which is greater than the state's median age, which is 41.4 years. Odessa is not very ethnically diverse, with 84% of its population being of the White race. In addition, 12.9% of the population is black, and only 1.9% is Hispanic. Regarding the marital status of Odessa's population, 13.1% have never been married, 59.5% are currently married, 20.3% are either divorced or separated, and 7.2% are widowed. Regarding the educational attainment of Odessa's citizens, 92.6% hold a high school diploma, 31.6% hold a bachelor's degree, and 13.6% have a graduate degree. 

History Of Odessa

Odessa, Delaware
The view of the historic buildings on Main Street. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos /

Odessa is one of the nation's most historically preserved areas. This small town has a long history dating back to the 1660s. Dutch settlers took the Appoquinimink area and used its native name, "Apequinemy." This area was appealing because of the river and the sea access, making it a perfect location for trade with other colonies. By 1664, the town became an English colony. Early into the 18th century, industry and development started in the city with the founding of the toll bridge, Cantwell's Bridge. Many manufacturers began opening up in the area, and a railroad was built in 1855. The shipping business was booming at that time in the Appoquinimink River. From 1870 till 1917, steamboats transported many products, including agricultural and industrial products, from Odessa to other parts of the world. Transportation through the water quickly became a significant aspect of the town. Therefore, the name was changed to Odesa in honor of the Ukrainian port on the Black Sea. Many of the historic features and buildings are still present in the town and are open to tourists. 

Economy Of Odessa

Historically, Odessa's economy was reliant on trade and manufacturing. Today, Odessa is similar to any small town in the United States. The town's major industries include protective services, management, farming, construction, administrative support, and law enforcement. The most common jobs include public administration, accounting for 22.4% of the job market. Following that is the educational services which employ 13.2% of the workforce. In addition, Administrative & support & waste management services employ around 10% of the workforce. Other jobs in the town include construction, finance, arts, and scientific and technical services. With that in mind, the unemployment rate is around 8% which is greater than the national average. The median household income in Odessa is $121,439, while the per capita income is $49,027.

Culture And Tourism In Odessa 

The town of Odessa is one of the nation's oldest towns. Packed with history and culture at every corner, this town is a perfect tourist location for all history and architecture lovers. 18th and 19th-century architecture is perfectly preserved by the Historic Odessa Foundation, which takes care of five beautiful historic houses. Those houses, including the beautiful Corbitt-Sharp House and Wilson-Warner House, are mostly known for their fascinating and timeless architecture. Another show-stopping house is one of Delaware's oldest residences, the bright red Collins-Sharp house, which was built in the 1700s. Stopping by to look at the Appoquinimink Friends Meeting House is a must. Each house has a unique story, so touring and learning more about them is a must. Another great place to tour is the Corbit Calloway Memorial Library, Odessa's public library. 

One of the most prominent features of this town is Cantwell's Tavern, a restaurant located in the town's first hotel that dates back to the 1800s. The restaurant serves delicious New American cuisine. The restaurant is a tribute to the original hotel and tavern that served locals and travelers for many years. The town hosts multiple events each year, some of which include the Historic Odessa Brewfest and the "Christmas in Odessa" festival. The Historic Odessa Brewfest joins more than 60 local and national brewers, great live music, and fantastic food. Christmas joy is perfectly portrayed in the annual "Christmas in Odessa" festival, a walking tour of the town's Christmas-decorated historic houses and buildings. 

This small town in the heart of Delaware is one of the nation's most beautiful and culturally rich towns. It is one of the most underrated tourist locations with beautifully preserved buildings and historical sites. Walking through the city is like taking a stroll into the United State's history.

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