“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)


Lewes * Maritime History Trail

Breakwaters Marker image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, December 31, 2010
1. Breakwaters Marker
Inscription. Two massive breakwaters shield Lewes Harbor from the punishing seas where Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet. They create an 800-acre anchorage that is nearly empty now, but in the early 1900s it was capable of sheltering 1,000 vessels from violent storms and hull-crushing ice.

Master Architect William F. Strickland designed the inner breakwater and was its chief engineer. Construction began in 1823, and laborers worked at the project - mostly by hand - for nearly 70 years. Measuring one mile long, it was the first public works project of the new U.S. government and the second-largest breakwater in the world. But even before it was completed, it was too small and its harbor too shallow for newer ships. Between 1897 and 1901 a new mile-and-a-half-long breakwater was built farther out.

Both breakwaters are piles of rubble and huge stone blocks weighting up to 13 tons each. Together, the breakwaters, lighthouses, harbor waters, and the old Coast Guard Station west of the ferry terminal constitute a National Historic District.
Erected by City of Lewes.
Location. 38° 46.933′ N, 75° 7.103′ W. Marker is in Lewes, Delaware, in Sussex County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 9 north of Cape Henlopen Drive. Touch for map. Located within the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal. 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. Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse (a few steps from this marker); Delaware Pilots (within shouting distance of this marker); Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); The Legacy of Ted Freeman (within shouting distance of this marker); Unknown Sailors' Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Menhaden Fisheries (approx. 0.6 miles away); Lighthouses (approx. 0.6 miles away); German Submarine at Cape Henlopen (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lewes.
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 1, 2011, by Nate Davidson of Salisbury, Maryland. This page has been viewed 533 times since then and 7 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on January 1, 2011, by Nate Davidson of Salisbury, Maryland. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide area view of the marker and its surroundings. • Pictures of the breakwaters, lighthouses and Old Coast Guard Station. • Can you help?
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