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CAPE HANLOPEN THROUGH HISTORY 1988 CZIC cwEcTj&g Gc 57.2 .C37 1988 Attachment G 1 64E (3) Final Benchmark c CAPE HENLOPEN THROUGH HISTORY From. the earliest hunters and gatherers, to modern sunbathers.and beachcombers, Cape Henlopen has always attracted visitors to its shores. Long before the first Europeans arrived, Native Americans camped on Cape Henlopen's many sand spits. The finger-like projections reached into the shallow bay and provided ideal spots from which to harvest the abundant fish and shell fish. EARLY EXPLORERS The first recorded discovery of the area was made by English explorer Henry Hudson, in 1609. A log book on Hudson's ship, the "Half Moon," contains the first description of the Delaware Bay. Since Hudson sailed in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, the Dutch claimed the bay and named it the "South River." The following summer a ship owned by the Virginia Company was blown off its Bermuda-to-Virginia course and came to rest in the bay. The English commander of the "Discovery," Samuel Argall, named the curious body of water in honor of the governor of the Virginia Colony, Thomas West, the third Lord "De la Warr". The bay would become known as Delaware Bay. In 1614, the "Fortune, It captained by Dutch navigator Cornelius Jacobsen Mey sailed into the bay. Mey gave his last name to the northern cape ( known -today as Cape May, N.J.) and his first name to the southern cape. The false cape now located near Fenwick Island he named Cape "Hindlopen," after a town or'a personage in his mother country. An early map maker mislabeled - the capes, switching the names Henlopen and Cornelius, and to this day the southern cape has been known as Cape Henlopen. COASTAL MINIM INFORMATION CENTER FIRST EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT' in the spring of 1633- a group of 28 Dutch mariners arrived at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Their intent was to establish a whaling settlement at the present site of the City of Lewes.This first colony was named "Zwaanendael," Dutch for "Valley of the Swans," so named for the many swans found there. Soon after their arrival, the colonists were killed following a dispute with a faction of local Native Americans. It was thirty years before another colony was re-established on Cape Henlopen. This second Dutch settlement, was also the New World's first Mennonite community. The Dutch, then the Swedes and English settled along the Delaware Bay and River in the early 17th Century. The Dutch remained in control of the area until 1633 when the English attacked Dutch outposts. England gained control of Dutch holdings in North America following the Second Anglo-Dutch War. PENN'S LEGACY England's Duke of York in 1682, deeded to William Penn the lands below the southern boundary of Penn's Province of Pennsylvania. The area (today's State of Delaware) became known as the 11 lower three counties " of Pennsylvania. In that same year, Penn granted a petition by an Edmond Warner to establish a "coney" or rabbit warren on Cape Henlopen. In granting Warner's request, Penn stipulated that the Cape and all its natural r urces (timber, fish, berries, etc.) were to be for the common U:10 age -of the people of Lewes and Sussex County. Of course, the rabbits were Warner's property. In essence,, Penn gave Cape Henlopen and probably all of the coast to the public. It could be said that the Cape was designated a "park" long before Delaware had become a state. Some 200 years later, a lawsuit brought by. concerned citizens, would cite the Warner Grant to prevent the sale of what had become surplus ocean-front property. Penn's act of generosity would help to secure for all Delawareans one of the most beautiful seashore parks on the eastern seaboard. THE CAPE HENLOPEN LIGHTHOUSE By the middle of the 18th Century, the volume of shipping in the Delaware Bay had increased to the point where the safety of vessels using the bay was a major concern. Shipwrecks around the treacherous Delaware coast were commonplace and resulted in great loss of life and cargo. In the early 1760s, Philadelphia ship owners and merchants used a public lottery to raise the money necessary to build a permanent lighthouse on Cape Henlopen. At the time of its construction (about 1765) the 60 ft. lighthouse. stood atop a high sand dune, about a quarter of a mile from the ocean and 3,300 ft. from the northern tip of the Cape. The Henlopen Lighthouse became one of the most important navigational aids in the New World. In- the final years of its existence, the lighthouse teetered on the brink of the 80ft. "Great Dune." On April 13, 1926, the lighthouse toppled- into the sea,. a victim of the continuous erosion of the Cape's Atlantic beaches. THE REVOLUTION. since it was rich in grain and removed from the theater of land warfare, Delaware became a main supplier of food for Washington's troops. At the outbreak of the war, a permanent look:-out was posted at the Henlopen Lighthouse. Lewes was garrisoned and boats of the Continental Navy kept up an almost constant harassment of British ships. Despite these efforts, the British took virtual control of the Delaware River and Bay. During the fall and winter of 1777 and the spring of 1778, Delawareans. lived in constant fear of enemy raids. British ships landed when and where they chose and- carried-off whatever provisions they could find. SALT WORKS salt was an essential imported element in early Americar because it was 'used in the preservation of food. The British blockade of American parts during the Revolution and the War of 1812 created serious shortages of salt. Various methods were tried in order to produce salt by evaporating seawater on open sand. These enterprises had limited success, but were most productive during the War of 1812, when salt works operated, reportedly on the flats beyond the :site of the Henlopen Lighthouse. By the middle of the 19th Century, commercial salt production in the Cape Henlopen area was located south of Gordon's Pond. THE EMS DeBRAAK The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse did much to make the entrance to the Bay ld&.s hazardous '. However, summer squalls and winter ice floes continued to sink ships. The most noteworthy among then was the British Brig, the H14S DeBraak, which sank off' the coast of Cape Henlopen in May of 1798. Spanish prisoners who survived the sinking reported that the ship was carrying a large amount- of gold. Although historical research discounts this claim, the DeBraak has obsessed treasure hunters for years.Finally, in 1984,the wreckage of the DeBraak was discovered in 80 ft.. of water, just off Cape Henlopen. Since then, many objects have been recovered. Although no substantial treasure was found, the number and variety of artifacts (including the captain's inscribed ring) have given us an inva-luable look at English naval life in the late 18th Century.. THE WAR OF 1812 Delaware's coast was aqain exposed to the enemy during the War of 1812. As in the Rev,#61ution, the British heavily relied on their mighty navy to defeat American forces at land and sea. Early in the spring of 1813, a. British f leet occupied the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Its intent was to strangle the maritime trade of Wilmington and Philadelphia. The English invaders demanded.fresh food and water from the townspeople of Lewes. The citizens refused and on April 6, 1813, the British began a long- range naval bombardment of Lewes. Trees on marshes obstructed the view of the enemy and damage to 'the town was minor. American militia assembled on the beach dis icouraged would-be landing parties'. Until hostilities ceased, small farms along the Delaware shores continued to suffer, great losses of sheep, poultry and cattle at the hands of British raiding parties. DEL AWARE BREAKWATERS The two lengths of stone barriers which form the harbor of Lewes are commonly known as the "Delaware Breakwater." But officially, the inner harbor is the Delaware Breakwater and the outer one, more than twicethe former's length, is the "Harbor of Refuge." Each barrier has its own navigation lights which are visible from shore. As in the case of the Henlopen Lighthouse, the. mounting loss of life and cargo along the Delaware coast sparked the merchants and ship owners of Philadelphia to petition and receive federal assistance in the building of a shelter for vessels at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Construction' on the. inner barrier began in 1828, and was completed about 1839. Work on the outer breakwater began in 1892 and ended in 1898. Together they provide acres of safe anchorage for vessels. QUARANTINE STATION At the and of the 19th Century thousands of immigrants fled. poor economic conditions in Europe by emigrating to America. in 1884 . as part of a nationwide effort to prevent the entry of epidemic disease into the country, the U.S. Government established a quarantine station on Cape Henlopen's bayshore, in the area of the Delaware Breakwater. This isolated location allowed authorities the opportunity to board all ships making for ports such as Wilmington and Philadelphia. The U.S. - Navy took control of the station from 1917 to 1918. By this time) most of the screening of immigrants had shifted to Ellis Island in New York. The Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Station was abandoned in 1926. LIFE SAVING STATION A Life Saving Station was established in 1897 on a one-acre tract just south of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. The station, which was staffed by Coast Guard volunteers, joined others staggered along the coast. The function of the life-saving service was to check for floundering ships and bring survivors ashore. To this and " volunteers would patrol the beaches and employ large lifeboats in their, rescue efforts. The location of the Life Saving Station now lies underwater. WORLD WAR II In 1941 the U.S. Army established a military base at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. "Fort Miles", controlled all Delaware Bay and River entrances and exits. Germany and its allies had marked the Delaware Valley as a prime target because of the ships, trains, ammunition, clothing and petroleum products manufactured there. During the war years the Cape's natural features were used to the Army's advantage. Along the Delaware and New Jersey coasts dunes were raised or created to camouflage ammunition and personnel bunkers. Gun emplacements were hidden among the dunes, while and anti-submarine mine field was operated from a dune hide-a-way. Concrete observation towers were built as aids in aiming the 16-inch guns hidden in the dunes below. Some of these towers remain standing today and are used for fire control and recreational observation. Many abandoned bunkers still lay intact underneath dunes. nloioen [email protected]@ @[email protected] I.- ctic par haSe of, 4 WE en ac Background Resources: Beach, John W. Cape Henlopen Lighthouse and the Delaware Breakwater. Dover, DE: Dover draphics Associates, 1979 (Revised Printing). Bryant, Tracey L. and Pennock, Johnathan R., The Delaware Estuary: Rediscovering a Forgotten Resource. The Philadelphia Press, Inc., 1988. Cullen, Virginia, History of Lewes, Delaware. NSDAR, Second (Revised) Printing, 1981.- wise, Cara L., Cultural Resources Management Plan for Four Seashore Parks and other Coastal Properties. DE Division of Parks and Recreation, 1985. Delaware State Historic Preservation Plan, Vol. 1, 1973.,, Division of : Historical and Cultural Affairs, Historic Preservation Section. Zwaanandael.Ruseum, Lewes, Delaware.. In 1964, Cape Henlopen State Park was dedicated following the purchase of some 1,641 acres of land from the U.S. Department. of Defense. Since then, the park has continued to grow in size and popularity. Its acres of shoreline, bayshore, pinelands, freshwater ponds, and cranberry bogs annually attract thousands of visitors to the park. Seaside Nature Canter Cape Henlopen State Park 42 Cape Henlopen Drive Lewes, Delaware 19958 (302) 645-6852 The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is an equal opportunity employer. No person or group shall be excluded from participation, denied any benefits, or subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or handicap. This Publication is financed through a federal grant from the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, NOAA under the provision of Section 306 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. (P. L. 92-583). 40-06-88-07/03 iv 3 6668 14109 9525