Cape May, NJ 08270
Why should I go? For years, many visitors who rode out Sunset Boulevard, and even some locals, wondered about that tower sitting in the weeds, looking so forlorn. It just so happens that the tower is New Jersey’s last freestanding World War II Lookout Tower and it’s now looking much less lonely as visitors come to its doors to climb to the sixth-floor spotting gallery and learn about its part in homeland defense.
The tower is owned by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, and is leased to Cape May’s Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Restored and opened to the public by MAC, the tower pays tribute to the men and women who bravely served in the armed forces, with a Wall of Honor dedicated to local veterans.
You’ll also see equipment used to determine firing coordinates for massive guns on both sides of the Delaware Bay. Each level of the tower includes interpretive panels and photos that explain its function, as well as Cape May’s important role during World War II.
The tower was part of the immense Fort Miles system to defend the Delaware River and Bay from enemy ships. It was used for spotting enemy ships and aiming guns to fire on them and was one of 15 towers that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood to Bethany Beach, DE.
The Wall of Honor on the third level of the tower is dedicated to remembering and honoring current residents of the Cape May area who served their country during World War II.
A computer on the third floor holds several interviews with area World War II veterans. Visitors will be able to hear first-hand experiences from veterans like Winnie Rosewag, who was a scout for the US Army and was the first man out of his unit to find the enemy. Hear how he landed in Normandy at D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Meet US.Navy vet Vince Panzano, who was a crewman on a ship that participated in D-Day and transported famous people like Roosevelt, Churchill, and Eisenhower. Panzano also witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. Hear Marvin Hume describe his adventures during six Pacific invasions. Vince Pale tells his story of how he was the only survivor when his bomber was shot down over Germany and how he was imprisoned in the infamous Stalag 17. US Army vet Ed Kent describes how he landed on D-Day and was wounded shortly after. Marine Corps veteran Joe Moke explains how his first and last battle of the war was Iwo Jima, because he was wounded shortly after he witnessed the flag raising atop Mount Suribachi.
For more information, call MAC.