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“Only a few left”

World War II Lookout Tower
Ranked #11 of 59 things to do in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Fire Control Tower No. 23 is New Jersey’s last remaining restorable World War II tower, part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles, playing a major part in coastal defenses. Built in 1942, the tower was one of 15 towers that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood, N.J. to Bethany Beach, DE. Four were in Cape May County, N.J.—the towers located in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were torn down and a third tower is located inside Cape May’s Grand Hotel, Beach and Philadelphia avenues. Fire Control Tower No. 23 is on land now part of the Cape May Point State Park. The tower was listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on May 29, 2003 and on the National Register on Nov. 17, 2003. The Tower was restored in 2008-09 by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). The project included: building spiral staircases in the Tower so that the public can safely climb to the top; construction of a wooden walkway from the street to the Tower, and a deck around its base, to preserve the fragile dune environment; replacing the missing windows and doors; recreating historical details, such as the original wooden ladders, and outfitting the watch room and viewing platform at the top; installing interpretive panels along the walkway and at every level in the Tower; introducing lighting and safety alarms; and upgrading the existing parking lot across Sunset Boulevard and connecting it with a cross-walk to the Tower. Robert Russell of Holt Morgan Russell was the restoration architect. This project was funded by three agencies that awarded MAC grants totalling $1.3 million: the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The 3rd level of the Tower features a "Wall of Honor" with then-and-now photographs of over 100 area World War II veterans. In 2012, an "All Veterans Memorial" was erected on the deck at the base of the Tower. The boardwalk, lined with interpretive panels, the All Veterans Memorial on the deck at the base of the Tower and the entry level are all fully accessible
Frederick, Maryland
Level Contributor
109 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Only a few left”
Reviewed 22 May 2013

This tower is one of a few left standing from WW2 - we have climbed up in a few, from Delaware to north Jersey. Built as part of the coastal defense system in WW2, they were designed to spot, and locate, invading vessels. When I was a youngster in Cape May, we always referred to the tower in town (now gone) as the "submarine tower", but they were not restricted to that purpose.
For oldsters to reminisce, or for kids to learn history, or just for the view, climb the tower!

Visited September 2012
Thank skyJim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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227 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
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English first
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Very Interesting!”
Reviewed 21 May 2013

I am a sucker for history, especially WW2. The tower and its history was a nice little side trip for us!

Visited May 2013
Thank bigs4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clinton, New Jersey
Level Contributor
183 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2013

This is one of the last of its type. They have nice panel history boards that explain it. Even though I am not really into this kind of thing, I found it interesting. There is a fee to climb up but you don't have to do this is you are also doing the Cape May lighthouse. Same view. It takes just a few minutes if you are checking out the area, it is worth the quick stop.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank bph19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
26 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great for history buffs!”
Reviewed 22 April 2013

Husband traveled to the top of the tower for great views of the beach, lighthouse, and surrounding areas. Interesting displays both inside and out.

Visited April 2013
Thank teepe54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, Connecticut
Level Contributor
38 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great view of the land and water”
Reviewed 18 April 2013

Walked up steel stairs to look out portion of Tower. Historian up there was knowledgeable and friendly. Must be able to climb stairs, no elevator.. worth the view.

Visited April 2013
Thank SueN74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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