Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stay at Fort Mott

So as promised, here's some background on the locale of Day 7 eve, Todd's arrival (almost too late!) at Fort Mott, which is a 103-acre historic park that once was part of a three-fort defense system designed for the Delaware River during the late 1800s.

The other two forts in the system were Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island (see Nov. post about Todd’s trip around the island with Sally O’Byrne) and Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Delaware. Troops were stationed at Fort Mott from 1897 to 1922, then just a caretaking detachment until 1943. New Jersey acquired it as a historic site and State Park in 1947 and it opened to the public in June 1951.

Like historic places, there is WAY TOO MUCH INFO to post in this blog, but most interesting to me is that it once was a self-contained military community, a veritable town if you will, with buildings, barracks, a hospital, a library, stables, even a YMCA and school for the soldier’s children – hard to imagine how big it must be! And of course, the river was the main means of transportation and contact with the outside world.

Also interesting to me: The Fort was completely modern for its time, and sounds like a true force to reckon with. Large caliber weapons were installed behind a 750-foot-long and 35-foot thick concrete and earth embankment that formed a sloped wall, and had the ability to shoot seven to eight miles. Two steel control towers were later added to improve aim, and observers stationed in the tower controlled fire. Landscaping around the Fort helped to camouflage Mott from attack.

The Fort became obsolete with the construction of Fort Salisbury, Delaware, shortly before World War I, and today it's a New Jersey State Park and home to the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Welcome Center. The Center has exhibits explaining the Fort’s history, an easy nature interpretative trail (fully accessible), tons of places ot picnic, and of course, the great shoreline and grounds which are said to be a nice spot for walks, birding and just exploring in general. The park is open daily, dawn to dusk.

One online reviewer called it, "a great day trip with lots of fun and learning to boot," and another person adds that you can take a Ferry from Fort Delaware and do two historic stops in one day---Nice!

If you decide to check it out, just take a tip from Todd Bauman and plan to arrive BEFORE they lock the gates!

Mary Linkevich
Mountain-to-Sea: Join the Journey!


Waderingdoc said...

Loving following your adventure down the drainage to Cape May. I was cheered to learn you'll have a chase boat available when you get to the wide water. I'd been worried about that stretch. Here's wishing you the best for the final paddle.


Anonymous said...

Fun reading the blogs. What an adventure you are having. The weather has been brutal. Thinking about you!
Your former mail carrier.

Cody Lee said...

LOOKS awesome so far! Hope you are not having to wear the dry suit ALL the time. Perhaps you have figured out how to get out of it now?

Life in the mountains is good.. KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Love Ya

P.S. Want to run a 5mile race on the 26th of Dec?

Todd Bauman said...