About Columbus Inn
The Columbus Inn dates back to the years just after America's Revolutionary war and opened in 1798 as Schamlz's Bakery. By 1812 the building switched to Schmalz's tavern. As early as 1849, City of Wilmington records list the inn as Columbus Inn and it operated as a tollgate stop on the main stagecoach route on Kennett Pike from Lancaster, Pa. to Wilmington's waterfront.
In the closing decades of the 19th century, nearby Wawaset Driving Park was the site of the annual Delaware State Fair and hosted fancy horse shows and matinee horse races. The racetrack attracted famous trotters such as Wert Willis, Stoeckles and other top-flight competitors from all the eastern hot beds of harness racing.
In 1953 the Columbus Inn was bought by Wally W. Sezna, an area golf personality. His son Davis operated the Inn until closing it on St. Patrick's Day in 2007.
Wawaset also hosted Buffalo Bill's Wild West show on eight occasions. It was an outdoor extravaganza that dramatized a buffalo hunt with real buffalos and an Indian attack with real Indians. The show's climax featured a redo of Custer's Last Stand. Half circus and half history lesson, the show also headlined sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Chief Sitting Bull. Following the performances throngs of people marched over to the Inn to join Buffalo Bill, Oakley and Sitting Bull for three-cent pints of beer and hours of rollicking music featuring a local jug band.
-- Terry Conway 2010