World War II fire control tower restoration begins
Jul. 25, 2017
DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) — Restoration of the World War II Artillery Fire Control Tower #3 in Dewey started Monday.
The fire control tower once served as the eyes of Fort Miles during World War II.
The Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation teamed up with the Fort Miles Historical Association to carry out the restoration.
The idea to restore the tower came 10 years ago, almost to the day.
Gary Wray, president of the Fort Miles Historical Association, said, "That was our plan 10 years ago, and here we are, 10 years later, with construction starting, so it's a very exciting moment!"
Larry Brown, president of the Delaware Seashore Parks Foundation, said Tower #3 was chosen because of its accessibility factor.
"We did a feasibility study about seven years ago and determined that this tower, No. 3, was probably the one in the best shape. It also had the other infrastructure because — it's very close, as you can see behind us — to the bathhouse and concessions, so it was accessible to the public," he said.
The process won't happen overnight. The entire project is estimated to take five years to complete. Part of the construction will include a new pavilion located between the tower and the bathhouse. Once completed, people will be able to hold special events at the pavilion.
The Fort Miles Historical Association is excited about the opportunity to educate the public.
Wray said, "Most people don't know it, but five million people come up and down this little road between Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island. Many have been coming in from Maryland and this is where we want to tell the Fort Miles story."
The foundation is planning on decorating the landmark to make it stand out even more.
"We're also going to be lighting the tower up, just like the bridge. It will have the same kind of colored, blue lights on there, so it will be very visible from the surrounding area and it will become a landmark," Brown said.
In total, the restoration is costing about $50,000.
None of that money is coming from Delaware taxpayers. Ninety percent of the funding is coming from the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation.
The foundation is made up of a group of volunteers. They said they are always looking to add more volunteers to help out. More specifically, the foundation is looking for people who can help provide historical information to visitors once the tower is open, and they are looking for volunteers to help keep up with maintenance of the tower.
You can sign up to volunteer, or donate money here: http://restorethetower.org/about-us
Information from: WMDT-TV, http://www.wmdt.com/