Preserved Army towers along Delaware Coast tell story of World War II
LEWES, Del. (WBFF) -- A pair of nonprofits is teaming up to preserve towers along the Delaware coast that were designed to protect against enemy invasions during World War II.
"Well, the towers tell the story of World War II," said Dr. Gary Wray of the Fort Miles Historical Society. "I mean, most people don't know what they were."
Eleven concrete towers dot the Delaware shore, built to protect the Delaware Bay from German invasion.
"If you control this mouth of Delaware Bay, you control 40% of our war production," Wray explained. "The towers stand as a symbol to our veterans in World War II, and, quite frankly, to all of our war veterans."
By appearance, the towers elicit curiosity from spectators.
"For many years, I've driven the shoreline of Delaware saying, 'What do these do? What are they for?'" asked Ernie Felici of the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation. "Not only is it beautiful, but you get a lightning bolt of a sense of history, and you say, 'Wow, what it was like to be there during World War II.'"
The Fort Miles Historical Society and Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation are teaming up to restore Tower 3 just south of Dewey Beach. The goal is to open the tower to the public, much like Tower 7 at Fort Miles.
"I used to think the towers looked scary because they were abandoned and stuff, but then after coming here all the time and I sit here and I think about it, they're just like part of it now," said Jodi Pietropaoli, who has been coming to Cape Henlopen for years. "It'd be weird if they weren't here anymore."
The towers were known as Army Artillery Fire Control Towers, designed to spot German war ships and relay information to gunners on the ground.
"The guns are the delivery system for the fort; the towers are the spotters for the guns," Dr. Wray said.
To learn more about the towers and the groups' effort to preserve them, visit http://www.savethetower.org/.