Fire Towers and Fun

Rehobeth Beach

We just got back from a week at the beach–a vacation from our vacation if you will.  There were no must-see sights, no schedule, just the chance for a little sea, surf and sun.   Rehobeth Beach, Delaware is a great beach town.  The town itself feels small.  Restaurants, fun stores and all sorts of places to get a snack line the main street.  You can walk the boardwalk after a swim and then head to family-friendly Funland for rides.  While there are a couple of larger buildings, the majority of the beach is lined with smaller houses.  The majority of buildings are no higher than three stories helping keep the town keep its friendly feel.  (This must be a case of zoning laws that work.)

WWII Fire Towers

The sandy beaches stretch on for miles in both directions.  Looking up the beach after swimming one day, we noticed two towers in the distance.  We walked from Rehobeth up the beach to Cape Henlopen State park to check out the World War Two fire control towers.  While many French beaches near us have German blockhouses leftover from WWII, beach-zone war construction was not limited to the European side of the Atlantic.  In 1942, fire control towers were built along the coasts of Delaware and New Jersey to help protect the shipping lanes from Nazi ships.

Close-Up Tower Shot

A total of 15 towers were built in the two states.  In a miracle of war-time building, the towers only took 2.5 days to build.  Spotters located in the towers watched for enemy ships such as U-boats.  The observers were able to call in artillery fire on enemy ships.  The towers were part of a larger war-related building project including gun batteries and barracks collectively known as Fort Miles.  Unfortunately, the towers are not open to the public.  Fire Control Tower No. 23 in nearby Cape May Point State Park (New Jersey) has been restored and is open to visitors.  We stuck to checking out the Delaware towers before walking back down the beach to the boardwalk and ice cream.  Anthony still can’t believe that I managed to find a bit of history on our beach break!

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