Category Archives: Vacations

The View From On High: The WWII Towers of Delaware

 

Beach NightsIn case you missed my other five or six posts about the Rehoboth Beach Reads short story contest, my paranormal tale, “Tower 16” took second place and will be published in the anthology, Beach Nights, coming in November from Cat and Mouse Press.

In fact, the book launch is scheduled for November 13, 2-4PM, at Browseabout Books on Rehoboth Avenue.

My story focuses on lonely WWII veteran and Rehoboth Beach resident Reggie Prell and his doting granddaughter, Hannah, who is visiting him during summer vacation with her parents. In between regaling Hannah with stories of his army career, Reggie is confronted by the ghosts of his brothers-in-arms, all of whom have passed away over the years leaving Reggie the lone surviving member of his battery. Realizing that his end is near, Reggie reveals to Hannah the legend of Tower 16—which only materializes to claim the souls of those who served in the fire control towers along Delaware’s coast. Will Tower 16 come for Reggie next?

I was told by the editor of the anthology that my story actually made one of the judges cry. I know it certainly moved me as I wrote it.

So What Is This Tower You Keep Referring To?

I’ve been fascinated by the WWII fire control towers along Delaware’s coast for years and always wanted to write a story about them, but it was not until the Beach Nights contest was announced that an idea finally came to me.

After all, tell a paranormal fiction writer that you’re looking for stories that take place at night and whaddaya expect to get?

My connection to Rehoboth Beach seems to sDelaware Beaches Plaquestrengthen each year. I was married there, and as I write this, I am back in town with my wife as we celebrate our anniversary.

For the past four summers, she and I have rented a house for a week every July with friends, and we take the occasional day trip here as our schedules permit.

When at all possible, I also try to include a visit to Tower 7 in Cape Henlopen. It is the only tower open to the public at present, but there is a growing movement to restore and open some of the others.

This past July, I had the pleasure of visiting Tower 3 near Dewey Beach, which I’d spotted earlier in the day during a parasailing excursion.

 

Of course, trips to the beach wouldn’t be complete wiTower T-Shirt and Plaquesthout stimulating the local economy. This time, I finally bought a few tower-themed goodies from the local shops, including a t-shirt and two wooden plaques as pictured here.

Below are several pictures taken not only of the tower in Cape Henlopen, but images of the ocean, the bay, and surrounding park taken by me  from the very top of the tower.

 

The Purpose of the TowersFire Control Tower2_Long

The Fire Control Towers were constructed by the US Army in the early days of WWII to protect the Delaware Bay from potential incursion by German vessels.

There were 11 total concrete towers built between Cape Henlopen and Bethany Beach. Across the bay in New Jersey, two were built in Cape May and still exist, while the pair in Wildwood have been demolished.

Further north in Delaware, five metal towers were raised in Fort Saulsbury, but only one remains at Big Stone Beach as shown below. Photo credit: http://www.fortsaulsburyde.com

Fort Saulsbury Tower

The towers were mostly constructed in pairs in order to triangulate the position of enemy ships. The information would then be transmitted back to the gun crews.

Cape Henlopen was also the location of Fort Miles army base. Today, the base remains as a tourist attraction with many of the large caliber guns on display alongside the buildings as shown below.

Fort Miles Mobile Gun2 Fort Miles Rail Gun Fort Miles Massive Gun Fort Miles from Tower

Below: From the top of Tower 7, views of Delaware Bay, Atlantic Ocean, and Tower 12 in Cape Henlopen State Park.

Ocean from Henlopen Tower3 Ocean from Henlopen Tower2
Fire Control TowerCape May Ferry

Below: Tower 7 in Cape Henlopen State Park on a perfect summer day.

Fire Control Tower 7

References:

Fort Saulsbury, DE website

Fort Miles, DE website

 

The View from the Tower – A Day at Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE has everything–several beaches, two lighthouses, a fishing pier, bird watching, nature museum, Fort Miles WWII Army base complete with a 75′ tall fire control tower open to the public, and four other towers to see. The views are astounding from the top of the Tower 7 and from several other points in the park as the pictures below prove.

Cape May Ferry Down the Barrel Fire Control Tower 7 Fire Control Tower 9 Fire Control Tower2_Long Fort Miles from Tower
Fort Miles Gun Fort Miles Hidden Gun  Fort Miles Massive Gun2  Fort Miles Mobile Gun2  Fort Miles Rail Gun Fort Miles Three Guns Fort Miles Two Guns

Ocean from Fort Miles Ocean from Fort Miles2 Ocean from Henlopen Tower Ocean from Henlopen Tower2
Phil at Fort Miles Phil Top of Tower

Henlopen Red Lighthouse and Beach Henlopen Red Lighthouse Close Henlopen Red Lighthouse_Tower

Henlopen Red Lighthouse_Tower
Fire Control Tower

Harbor Refuge Lighthouse

Phil with Fort Miles Gun

USA

Relaxing in Rehoboth!

Before heading to Shore Leave 38 in Hunt Valley, MD this past weekend, I spent six days in Rehoboth Beach, DE with several friends. The weather was gorgeous until Thursday when the temps became unbearable, but it rained only one evening out of the entire week.

Activities included sitting on the beach and reading, walking along the surf at dusk, laying on the beach staring at the stars after 10PM, parasailing in Dewey Beach, visiting Bethany Beach, exploring Cape Henlopen State Park and Fenwick Island, shopping and eating, mostly coconut shrimp.  Yes, pizza and ice cream were involved, too. Some pics below. More pics to follow from Cape Henlopen and Fenwick Island.

 

Parasailing in Dewey Beach Parasailing in Dewey Beach       Parasailing in Dewey Beach Parasailing in Dewey Beach

 

Funland Rehoboth at Dusk Rehoboth at Dusk Rehoboth at Dusk Rehoboth Morning Rehoboth Morning