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North Wildwood’s Forgotten WWII Tower

North Wildwood’s Forgotten WWII Tower

Being that the Wildwoods sat near the mouth of the Delaware bay, World War II had an impactful effect on the island.

World War I, known back then as The Great War, has taught the US that they needed to take measures to ensure that the Delaware Bay and River were protected from German U-Boats.

North Wildwood’s Forgotten WWII Tower

North Wildwood’s Forgotten WWII Tower

The United State Government created the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware to protect this area.

The organization created an elaborate system that would give multiple tiers of protection to the Delaware.

Some of these include Gun ranges (155 mm guns) at Forth Miles and the Cape May Reservations Base, mines, and magnetic loops, which detected submarines using sono-bouys, and sonar.

Wildwood Crest's Lookout Tower

Wildwood Crest’s Lookout Tower

Also See: Wildwood During World War II

While most of the military equipment was located at those bases look-out towers were built in smaller beach cities.

These towers served as a crucial part of the coastal defense system during World War II, providing an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean and allowing soldiers to spot enemy ships and aircraft.

Fifteen of these towers were built between 1939 and 1942 and stretched from North Wildwood to Bethany beach Delaware.

The Wildwoods had two, one in North Wildwood near where the lighthouse stood and another one in Wildwood Crest.

Cape May's Tower at Sunset Beach

Cape May’s Tower at Sunset Beach

Cape May had two of their own, both of which are still standing. One is located at Sunset beach and the other is inside the Grand Hotel in Cape May

During the war, the tower was manned 24 hours a day by soldiers who were trained to keep a vigilant watch over the ocean. The tower was equipped with powerful binoculars and communication equipment, which allowed soldiers to quickly alert the military of any enemy activity. The tower also served as a communication center, connecting soldiers to other coastal defense structures and military bases along the east coast.

North Wildwood's tower on 2nd ave

North Wildwood’s tower on 2nd ave

After the war, the towers were decommissioned and fell into disrepair.

In the 1980s, a group of local residents and veterans banded together to restore the tower the Cape May tower, (sunset beach) to its former glory.

The North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest towers weren’t so lucky.

Most saw them as an eyesore and wanted them removed but that was easier said than done.

Since these were built out of reinforced concrete that could take a hit from a Germany Naval Gun, removing them would be quite difficult.

Crews had to bring in wreaking balls and swing at the structure for days before it started to crack.

Locals have said that every time the wreaking back hit the building the island shook.

Wildwood Crest’s lookout tower was destroyed in 1972 with North Wildwood tower staying around a bit longer until 1998.

Today, visitors to the World War II Lookout Tower can experience what life would have been like for soldiers during the war by stopping by the Cape May lookout tower at Sunset beach.

The museum inside the tower is filled with artifacts and memorabilia from the war, including photographs, maps, and equipment used by soldiers. Visitors can also climb to the top of the tower to enjoy panoramic views of the coast and the ocean.

While it’s been 35 years since the North Wildwood Lookout tower was destroyed, it will be remembered as an important part of our local history.

Check out these other wildwood videos and articles.