Hidden Havens 5 Abandoned Places in Delaware Waiting to be Explored

Hidden Havens: 5 Abandoned Places in Delaware Waiting to be Explored

Centuries of history have been written about Delaware, the first state to ratify the US Constitution. Not only are the busy streets and famous sites testaments to its rich past, but the quiet histories of its deserted locations also bear witness to it.

These locations provide a hauntingly beautiful window into a bygone period. They range from the abandoned lighthouses and majestic mansions taken over by nature to the ruins of once-thriving mills. These five deserted sites in Delaware serve as striking reminders of time’s unrelenting passage and nature’s ability to restore its power.

Ship John Shoal Lighthouse

The Yacht In 1797, a shipwreck occurred on Christmas Eve, prompting the construction of John Shoal Lighthouse. While navigating his vessel along Delaware Bay, Captain Robert Folger unexpectedly struck aground on a rough area of land. He became stuck, but he and the other fifty German passengers were safe.

The construction of the lighthouse cost an incredible $125,000, and it was completed in 1874. Screw-pile lighthouses are relatively uncommon in modern times, making this lighthouse one of Delaware’s more unusual abandoned locations.

Before the tasks were automated in 1973, caregivers would keep 12-hour watches while the process was underway.

The lighthouse lost its maintenance money in 2011 after the Coast Guard judged it to be excessive. Although a private owner paid $60,200 for the lighthouse in 2012, not much maintenance has been done to the structure.

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Bancroft Mills

Because of its immense size and riverfront position, Bancroft Mill is undoubtedly one of Delaware’s most well-known abandoned locations. Joseph Bancroft, an English immigrant, founded the mill in 1831 with the intention of operating one of the biggest cotton finishing mills in the country.

5 Abandoned Places in Delaware Waiting to be Explored

The mill invented the first synthetic fibers that are still in use today and refined cotton into beautiful fabric for apparel. Up until 1961, when producing cotton locally was no longer profitable, the mill was partially operational. Before being abandoned in 2003, the building saw several owners.

A significant section of the mill was damaged by a fire that started in 2015. Another significant section beside the creek was damaged by fire in 2016. You can still investigate the building’s remnants today by strolling along the river.

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Garrett Snuff Mill

Constructed in the late 1800s, the Garrett Snuff Mill was a mill for snuff tobacco. The mill was a great success when it was in operation, growing to include nearly 14 buildings.

Up until 1954, the Garret family’s main source of income was tobacco manufacturing for the government. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Many of the resilient brick buildings remain standing today, having withstood multiple arson attacks and years of neglect. The mill is listed as historic, but that doesn’t save it from additional damage or guarantee funds for its restoration.

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Fort Miles

Constructed in 1934, Fort Miles was principally utilized as a component of the coast defense system throughout World War II. The fort’s job was to defend the Delaware River and Bay from enemy fire and invading armies.

Even an undersea minefield under Fort Miles’ command could be set off to demolish approaching enemy ships.

5 Abandoned Places in Delaware Waiting to be Explored

Before it was eventually rendered obsolete in 1950, Fort Miles was in use during both World Wars. In the 1950s and 1960s, the fort was mainly utilized for storage because it was deemed surplus.

During the Cold War, Fort Miles was home to the SOSUS classified sonar system, which was used to track Soviet submarines. Much of the fort is still abandoned today, and every year it gets progressively more overgrown.

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Reedy Island Range Rear Light

When dredging of a new northern canal into Philadelphia started in the early 1900s, the Reedy Island Range Rear Light (try saying that three times fast) was constructed. Originally intended to be a temporary fixture, the light ended up becoming permanent.

In 1989, the light was added to the list of historic places on the National Register.

The keeper’s house was destroyed by fire in 2002, but the steel tower is still standing. The tower is a unique piece of history worth seeing if you’re nearby, even though it’s not among Delaware’s most interesting abandoned locations.

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To Conclude

Delaware’s deserted sites provide insight into the state’s fascinating past and dynamic environment. These locations, which range from lighthouses and mills to military outposts and navigational aids, are silent monuments to the creativity and tenacity of the human race.

All of them are potent reminders of the past and the enduring force of time and nature, even though some face an uncertain future. We can better understand Delaware’s distinctive past and the value of preserving our history by visiting and learning from these abandoned locations.

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