Don Blakey was a Delaware State College student in 1954 when he experienced Rosedale for the first time. He and college friends were busing tables at the beach and couldn’t make their way back to Dover late at night, so they stayed at Rosedale, on Indian River Bay near Millsboro.
Mr. Blakey, a former state legislator and Kent County Levy Court commissioner, remembers the parade of top-tier performers who entertained at Rosedale – Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, Fat Domino, James Brown. A destructive storm and changing racial norms finally spelled the end for Rosedale in the early 70s.
Mr. Blakey and his troupe, Don Del Theater Company, will remember Rosedale at the Art League’s gala fundraiser on September 17 at the Milford Senior Center. He discusses the history of the club and the upcoming performance.
Video produced by Lee Ann Walling