Fort Miles Museum Adds New WWII Artifact to Upcoming Exhibit
Posted: Oct 10, 2017 5:12 PM
By Nicole Edenedo
(LEWES, Del.) - A new World War II-era artifact has arrived at Cape Henlopen State Park set to be featured in the Fort Miles museum.

An aircraft watchtower shed used for surveillance during WWII will become part of the Fort Miles exhibit as early as Summer 2018.

Patrick Bragdon, a bunker buster volunteer at Fort Miles, oversaw the shed's acquisition and transportation to the park.

"This one was built in the spring of 1942 down at north Hooper's Island where it has remained sitting for 75 years until this morning," said Bragdon. "And it was donated very generously by Ray Simmons' family of Cambridge, Maryland."

Raymond Simmons was the shed's chief observer during the war and a principle of a local high school on Hooper's Island at the time. The shed remained on the family's property through the years.

"He did all the scheduling to make sure that it was staffed 24 hours a day for a period of about two years," said Bragdon.

"The construction included a telephone box," the bunker buster added, "one of the requirements was the observation sheds had to be within 15 seconds of making a phone call should they observe an aircraft that they needed to report."

Simmons' family preserved the shed's memorabilia and its structure over the years. Some of those items include felt arm bands featuring the insignia of the Ground Observer Corps, as well as photographs.

Visitors at Fort Miles Tuesday morning said these kinds of historic projects are important to preserve.

"History needs to be maintained," said Larry Kurfis of Lewes. "There's too much going on where we'll destroy stuff just because and it's not right."

Bragdon said plans to fully restore the bunker will begin this year and will be ready for display by late spring.

The watchtower shed is one of the last remaining observer posts used during WWII.

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