Fort Miles to offer historic lantern, museum and battery tours this spring


Coastal Point • Submitted : Two children sit on one of the World War II artillery guns at Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.Coastal Point • Submitted : Two children sit on one of the World War II artillery guns at Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.The spring schedule is set at Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen State Park, where visitors are encouraged to come witness live World War II reenactments, visit the Orientation Building and World War II Museum and much more.

“Our event makes Delaware World War II history come alive for our visitors as we recreate what World War II Fort Miles was like, with soldiers dressed in period correct outfits, tours of our gun park, with guns of the type at Fort Miles, and tours of our state-of-the-art World War II Museum inside the Great Dune,” said Fort Miles Association President Gary Wray. “Folks who visit are impressed at our museum and its quality of both displays and interpretation.”

The spring schedule at Fort Miles kicked off on Saturday, March 14, but will continue with upcoming lantern tours on Saturday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 9, 23 and 30 at 8 p.m. The Orientation Building will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through May 15. Underground gun battery tours will be held on April 18, and May 16 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“No other museum in the country has a Missouri gun barrel, complete with all its parts, ready for a static display on the coast,” said Wray. “Our museum is unique in itself, as the Great Dune is the second largest dune on the East Coast and the only one that has a World War II museum inside.

“We will be giving tours all day to inform our visitors of what a wonderful artifact we have here in Delaware that no one in the world has and how hard the Fort Miles Historical Association and our Delaware State Parks partners have been working to both preserve it and interpret it for our visitors.”

As far as the reenactments go, Wray said that the state park at Cape Henlopen is the perfect place for the public to enjoy.

“Cape Henlopen State Park in itself is a wonderful place to visit and over 1.5 million folks do so every year, so the setting is wonderful,” he said. “We would just invite everyone to come out and have a wonderful day. We will have events for kids, food, tours of our museum, walking tours, and we will at 1 p.m. reenact the surrender of U-858. It will be a lot of fun, and everyone will have both a good time and learn a lot about Delaware World War II history.”

He also said that the re-enactors at Fort Miles are among the most accurate out there.

“Our local 261st Coast Artillery unit has reenacted with us every year we have had the event, and they are a special group,” he said. “It gives our visitors a balanced view of World War II men and their lives during the war. These young men who participate buy their own period-correct equipment and, to “keep it real,” they spend lots of their own money to make the day exciting for the visitors.”

For more information on Fort Miles and the association, or for a full list of events, visit www.fortmiles.org or call (302) 645-0753.

“We have been working full-time on Fort Miles for 15 years, and it is wonderful place to visit,” said Wray. “We keep ‘living history’ alive and educate our public on what it was like on the Delaware coast during World War II.”