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Lighthouses | Coastal Lookouts | Links

There is a fascination with lighthouses and the lookouts from the shore that transcends all human barriers. Perhaps it is the thought of a beacon that searches the horizon, and the hope it communicates to stranger and family alike. We all look to the sea with awe and respect.

This page is divided into three sections - Lighthouses of Southern Delaware, Past and Present; Coastal Lookouts along the Delaware shore; and Lighthouse Links to other sites on the Internet.

In recognition of her hard work and continuing efforts to rebuild and revitalize the Greater Delmar Chamber of Commerce AND her love for lighthouses, this page is dedicated to Linda Jones, President - 1998 & 1999.


Cape Henlopen Lighthouse
A replica of the Henlopen Lighthouse sits next to the Rehoboth Beach - Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce offices in Rehoboth Beach. Built in 1725 and rebuilt in 1764, the lighthouse served as a beacon at the southern edge of the Delaware Bay for more than a 150 years.

Movement of the Great Walking Dune of Cape Henlopen undercut the lighthouse which collaped in a storm in April 1926. Interesting footnotes on the light include the connection of Major Henry Fisher who selected the site of the lighthouse. Fisher's Paradise at 624 Pilottown Road Lewes was the home of this patriot.

Fenwick Island Light
Fenwick Lighthouse Authorized by the U.S. Government in 1855 as a navigational tool for sailors which could see the light from 15 miles out at sea. Route 54, Fenwick. Free admission. (302) 539-2100. Fenwick Island, Delaware

Harbor of Refuge Light
Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse Located off the coast of Lewes, this lighthouse was built in 1901 as the final phase of the outer breakwater. Only lighthouse off Delaware's coastline that still operates. Lewes, Delaware

Mispillion Lighthouse
Commissioned in 1831, this privately-owned structure overlooks where the Mispillion River and Cedar Neck Creek meets the Delaware Bay north of Slaughter Beach. The last original Mispillion Lighthouse is still standing on the site. This lighthouse was built in 1873 on the site of previous lighthouses (one of which is said to have been moved to Walnut Street in Milford) which guided ships into Delaware Bay since 1760. The building is in need of extensive repairs, but has survived all recent "Nor'easter" storms. This is only surviving wooden frame lighthouse in Delaware.

Mispillion Lighthouse has been placed on the "Doomsday List" of endangered lighthouses by the American Lighthouse Foundation.

During the summer of 2002, this important historic site was involved in a catastrophic fire.


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Coastal Lookouts


The Lightship Overfalls
The Lewes Historical Society accepted from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1973 one of the last lightships which functioned on the East Coast. It stood for years off Boston and upon being brought to Lewes was rechristened Overfalls for the lightship which from 1892 to 1961 patrolled the entrance to the Delaware Bay. The ship's move to Lewes, its preparation for a museum role, and its relocation to a permanent berth made available by the city in 1975, have all been major undertakings overseen by the Overfalls Lightship Association.
The Overfalls lightship has a new website at www.overfalls.org and is now legally owned and operated by the non-profit organization, the Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation, Inc. The Lewes Historical Society has officially transferred ownership. Visit their new website to learn about their exciting restoration project, how to contact them, and when to visit. Located on Pilottown Road, Lewes.

Delaware Lightship
Technically named the Delaware Bay Buoy, this modern sentinel stands off the mouth of the Delaware Bay as an automated version of work done for decades by Lightships such as the Overfalls - measuring tides, currents, weather conditions, as well as serving as a beacon. To local waterman it is still referred to as the Delaware Lightship.

Hotel Buoy
Farther out at sea a larger version of the Delaware Lightship is anchored.

World War II Observation Towers
Visitors to Delaware coast have long been aware of the tall concrete observation silos which dot the beaches. Used during the war as lookouts for Axis shipping and to triangulate their location for aiming 16 inch guns located in bunkers in the dunes. Guided tours of the observation towers and bunkers at Cape Henlopen are available to the public. There are other towers south of Dewey Beach, in Bethany Beach and in Fenwick Island.

Fort Saulsbury
Two even older Ordinance Bunkers were built during World War I just south of Slaughter Beach for coastal defense. At one time they housed two 12 inch guns emplacements. The guns were removed during World War II and the location was used as a prisoner of war camp. It was sold as surplus property in 1948 and is now in private hands.

The Indian River Life Saving Station Museum and Historic Site
Beautifully rebuilt and refurbished, this is one of only two stations of it's kind left. Route 1 just north of Indian river inlet. Tuesday through Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM dspf@splus.net (302)227-0478.


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Lighthouse Links

Delaware Lighthouses

Internet Index of Lighthouse Links

Chesapeake Chapter, U.S. Lighthouse Society

US Life-Saving Service Heritage Association

Towers of the Atlantic


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