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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lewes in Sussex County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Overfalls Lightship

Lewes Maritime History Trail

 
 
Overfalls Lightship Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2010
1. Overfalls Lightship Marker
Inscription. The Lightship Overfalls is one of the 179 ships that servrd as floating lighthouses on America's three coasts and the Great Lakes between 1820 and 1985. Lightships were used where it was not feasible to build a lighthouse, possibly because the water was too deep or the shoals were constantly shifting. Each ship had a light for visibility at night and some mechanism for making noise in fog.
Several of these ships served in and around Delaware Bay from 1823 to 1972, eventually being replaced by either lighthouses or buoys. Throughout this period the ships were constantly being upgraded: from sail to mechanical propulsion, from wood to steel construction, from oil lams to electric lights, and a variety of improvements that added to human safety and comfort. Even so, lightship duty was hazardous for the crews because the ships remained on station in severe storms when all other vessels were advised to seek shelter. In addition, the foghorns were deafening for those on board and often led to permanent hearing damage. Foghorns on the vessel in front of you, for example, could be heard for up to five miles.
Although the lightship, LV 118, did not serve on the Overfalls station, she is similar to the last ship that did. And she is an historic vessel in her own right, serving on three
Overfalls Lightship image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2010
2. Overfalls Lightship
stations on the New England Coast from 1938 to 1972. In 1973, she was brought to Delaware and given the name Overfalls in honor of the lightship station closet to Lewes.

 
Erected by City of Lewes.
 
Location. 38° 46.683′ N, 75° 8.482′ W. Marker is in Lewes, Delaware, in Sussex County. Marker is on Shipcarpenter Street near Pilottown Road, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lewes DE 19958, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Life Saving Station (here, next to this marker); The Blizzard of 1888 (a few steps from this marker); Menhaden Fishing Industry (a few steps from this marker); Lightship Overfalls (within shouting distance of this marker); Hiram Rodney Burton House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Penrose Virden (about 800 feet away); Ryves Holt House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lewes (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lewes.
 
Also see . . .
1. From Friends of the Lighthouse. The Overfalls Lightship Station was located near the mouth of Delaware Bay, roughly three miles east of Cape Henlopen and 8.5 miles southwest of Cape May, and marked the Overfalls
Overfalls Lightship Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2010
3. Overfalls Lightship Marker
Shoal where the shallowest spot had a depth of only ten feet. (Submitted on December 9, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. Historic Naval Ships Association. The Lightship Overfalls was the last lightship built by the United States Lighthouse Service. She was commissioned as the LV (light vessel) 118 in 1938 and was considered at that time to be "state of the art" in lightship design. (Submitted on December 9, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Overfalls Lightship Marker, lower left pictures image. Click for full size.
By Overfalls Lightship Marker
4. Overfalls Lightship Marker, lower left pictures
Overfalls Lightship Marker, upper right pictures image. Click for full size.
By Overfalls Lightship Marker
5. Overfalls Lightship Marker, upper right pictures
Overfalls Lightship Marker, right side pictures image. Click for full size.
By Overfalls Lightship Marker
6. Overfalls Lightship Marker, right side pictures
Overfalls Lightship Marker, bottom right picture image. Click for full size.
By Overfalls Lightship Marker
7. Overfalls Lightship Marker, bottom right picture
Overfalls Lightship nearby Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2010
8. Overfalls Lightship nearby Memorial
The Lightship Overfalls LV-118/Wal-539 had a long, distinguished career marking the shoal waters and guiding ships to safe harbor on the East Coast. After decommissioning, the Coast Guard donated her to the Lewes Historical Society (LHS) and she was moved to this location in 1974, with the assistance of the City of Lewes, and the State of Delaware.

In 2001 the Overfalls Foundation, a local nonprofit group, received the lightship from the LHS. By 2010 the Overfalls Foundation had saved the lightship from deterioration, and preserved it through innumberable hours of volunteer labor and tremendous support by individuals, organizations, businesses, foundations, and government entities. "The Dirty Hands Gang" met on Tuesday mornings to clean, scrape, paint, and repair the lightship. Countless other overfalls Foundation volunteers worked on administrative, political, and social activities that were crucial to the restoration and saving of the ship for future generations.
Names and Organizations listed at left and right
Overfalls Lightship anchor display image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2010
9. Overfalls Lightship anchor display
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 633 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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