Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Fort Delaware

Posted by Stu On September - 21 - 2005

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The back of the fort as seen from Fort Mott.

We noticed on one of our visits to Fort Mott that a ferry runs among 3 forts: Forts Mott, Delaware, and DuPont. I found out Fort Delaware is on its own island, Pea Patch Island, in the middle of the River. It is only accessible by the ferry and is where the Civil War soldiers buried at Finn’s Point came from. We tried to board the ferry once, but it stopped its route early that day due to “bad weather” (which lasted a whopping 15 minutes). So we tried again 2 weeks later and finally got there.
Once on the island, we were greeted by a tram of sorts, which drove us right up to the fort entrance; I was surprised to discover the fort has a moat around it. To the right are the remains of 2 batteries, and off to the left are reconstructed barracks (the prison and original barracks were dismantled not long after the Civil War ended).

The batteries

The reconstructed barracks

A small portion of the barracks may have been remade, but the fort itself is pretty much in the same shape as it was during its prime in 1864. The floors and walkways are pretty uneven as a result. There are a few people dressed in Civil War-era clothes who can tell you more than you care to know about the fort. One woman bragged about the 40+ flush toilets – “not even Mr. Lincoln has those in the White House.” There are tours, but we chose to walk around on our own, as we most always do.

OMFG teh Orbz!!111

The concession guy was definitely not in 1864 character.

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Thompson’s Beach

Posted by Stu On April - 20 - 2005

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Note to self: Consider investing in waders.

Thompson’s Beach, much like Seabreeze or Grassy Sound, was a tiny little-known town on the water. The road leading out to is was surrounded by marsh and was difficult to upkeep. Eventually the township decided maintaining a lone road that led to a handful of houses, many of which were summer homes, was not worth it. The houses were leveled; the docks, bulkhead, bits of foundations, and a single fireplace remain today. The road itself has obviously deteriorated since then. Sections of asphalt are left, but for the most part the road is mud, rock, and reeds.
I’m not exactly sure when the town was demolished, although a few people have said it was during the 90’s.

The road to the town.

The road that leads to Thompson’s Beach stops about 2/3 mile from the actual town. There’s a small parking lot with birdwatching stands on either side. A small iron gate prevents anyone from driving down the rest of the road. So from here we had to hoof it. We tried our best to avoid mud, but it was a lost cause. A surprising number of dead horseshoe crabs were scattered about the trail.
Finally reaching the shoreline, we noticed nearly all the bulkhead was still intact. Skeletons of docks were also present, as were bricks and concrete from the houses. With the exception of the fireplace, we couldn’t tell where exactly the houses were. We found half a tea cup and a bunch of rusty crab traps. Wires and pipes still stick out of the ground in places.

Dead horseshoe crabs.

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The Cannonball House

Posted by Stu On July - 20 - 2004

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A fine example of a place being less than what you’d expect. I had read about this house in a book or two. Seeing how it was also included on some Lewes maps, I figured it’d be a worthwhile addition to my trip there.

If you don’t know about it, the “Cannonball House” of Lewes is the last building in the town with any remnant of the British attack that took place there in 1813. A cannonball was shot at one of the building’s sides and is still there. I was expecting a large cannonball…..this is what I found:

There’s your cannonball. I was a bit disappointed to say the least. I came all this way to look at a superball. I’m still not sure why I’m including the house on the site….it IS odd in its own little way, yet it’s also very dumb.

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Cape Henlopen State Park

Posted by Stu On July - 20 - 2004

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This was my main reason for visiting Lewes. I had read about 7 concrete towers along the coast that were from World War II. Back when German U-boats were a possible threat in the Delaware Bay, many concrete towers were built along the coast to keep watch for them. There was at least one on the Jersey side too, as I had found last fall. But unlike the one in New Jersey, you can climb some of these.

I saw 5 other towers from the top of the one I climbed. I also looked down and saw people had made designs on the ground that you can only see from the top of the tower. Figuring this is the closest to Nazca I’m going to get for a while, I figured I’d take some pics.

In another section of the park, you can find some guns, cannons, and buildings from when it was still a fort. None of the buildings can be entered.

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Zwaanendael Museum

Posted by Stu On July - 20 - 2004

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The Zwaanendael is almost your typical local history museum. Almost.
Like most other local history museums, there are artifacts, clothes, etc. from the time period they’re focusing on. You can also see the door of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, which toppled over in 1926.
But I didn’t come to see that.

I went to the Zwaanendael Museum to see just one thing: the merman.

It’s not really a merman (derrr), but rather half fish and half monkey. It’s not very big…a bit over a foot long.

There is no admission charge to visit this museum.

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Fort Mott

Posted by Stu On May - 20 - 2004

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Fort Mott was one of 3 forts built along the Delaware after the Civil War. Its construction began in 1872 but stopped in 1876. Only 2 out of 11 gun emplacements were finished. In 1896 more fortifications were added for the Spanish-American War. Troops were stationed there up until 1922.

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