At the turn of the 20th Century, Rehoboth Beach was a quaint church camp village and summer residence for many seeking relief from city life. Horses, wagons, and buggies traveled the streets. There were no paved sidewalks, crosswalks, street lamps, lifeguards, benches, water fountains, or trash cans. Lake Gerar was a swamp and Silver Lake was infested with mosquitoes. To address some of the needs and concerns of the village, a group of dedicated women joined together to improve the quality of life in Rehoboth. They met in December 1909 and established the Village Improvement Association. The VIA promoted pedestrian safety by raising money to help pay for sidewalks, crosswalks, lights, and signs in Rehoboth. Responsible for establishing the first public library in Rehoboth, the group often hosted the books in their homes, opening their doors to the community in the years before the library had a permanent location. The VIA spearheaded mosquito eradication and continues to engage in town beautification and preservation efforts. A supporter of the arts and education, the VIA played a major role in the establishment of the Rehoboth Art League and created scholarships for local art and nursing students. The well-being of women, children, the disabled and the elderly remain a focus of the organization. For over 100 years the VIA has enriched
coastal Delaware through their dedication to improving the community and themselves with hard work and charitable acts.