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Old Posted Mar 11, 2009, 3:17 PM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Abandoned Delaware: Fort DuPont

Fort DuPont is a military base located near Delaware City. The fort was named after Rear Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont, a member of the DuPont family. Fort DuPont is located on a triangle of land surrounded by the Delaware River to the east, the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal to the south, and the old Chesapeake & Delaware Canal to the northwest.

The first guns were installed on the site of the fort during the War of 1812, to defend the Delaware River. Fort DuPont was made permanent in 1863. The fort was originally called Battery Point, and then named Camp Reynolds when it was made permanent in 1863, although it was usually referred to as "the fort opposite of Fort Delaware". The original purpose of the fort was for coastal defense. Fort DuPont, along with Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River, and Fort Mott, on the other side of the Delaware River, combined to protect the shipping ports of Wilmington, Chester, and Philadelphia from enemy ships. Two concentrations of construction and building occurred, with one period occuring in 1897 before the Spanish-American War, and the other period occuring from 1906 to 1915. In 1898, the fort was renamed Fort DuPont, after Delawarean and Civil War hero Rear Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont.

In 1921, the guns were removed, as the fort changed functions from coastal defense to headquarters for the First Engineering Battalion. The fort was used to house and train troops in preparation of World War II, and the First Engineering Battalion moved to another location. Midway through World War II, the fort was also a P.O.W. camp for German and Italian soldiers, who were brought to the fort after the defeat of the Afrika Corps in 1943.

The fort was decommissioned in 1945 after World War II ended, and the base and buildings were turned over to the state of Delaware. The Governor Bacon Health Center was opened in 1948, using the soldiers' barracks as the hospital and a few officer's houses as medical offices. Today, the Governor Bacon Health Center still operates on the site, but is not as busy as it once was. The Delaware National Guard and the Delaware Division of Natural Resoures and Environmental Control also operate on the site, using some of the old structures. In 1992, a portion of the base was designated as Fort DuPont State Park, and trails allow the public to see some remains of the fort and to enjoy birdwatching, among other activities.


Looking across the Parade Grounds at the Fort DuPont complex.



An old gatehouse to the Governor Bacon Health Center, on Wilmington Avenue.



Non-commissioned Officers' quarters, on Wilmington Avenue. Both duplexes were built in 1910.



Non-commissioned Officers' quarters, on Wilmington Avenue. The duplex was built in 1909.



Officer's quarters, on Sussex Avenue. The house was originally located at Fort Mott, across the Delaware River in New Jersey, but was moved to Fort DuPont in 1933.



Officer's quarters, on Sussex Avenue. The duplex was built in 1910.



The War Department Theater, on Sussex Avenue. The theater was built in 1933.



The Service Club, on Sussex Avenue. The clubhouse was built in 1913.



Burton Hall, future home of the Delaware Military Museum, on Sussex Avenue. Burton Hall was built in 1906 as the Post Headquarters.



The back of Burton Hall, the Post Headquarters, on Sussex Avenue. The Parade Grounds are in the background on the left.



Non-commissioned Officers' quarters on Sussex Avenue. The duplex was built in 1933.



Church of God Chapel, on New Castle Avenue. The church was built in 1941.



An ordnance storehouse, on an abandoned stretch of Sussex Avenue. The storehouse was built in 1901.



A warehouse on an abandoned stretch of Sussex Avenue. The warehouse was built in 1941.



A warehouse on Powers Lane. The warehouse used to be the Quartermaster's stable and was built in 1912.



A grassy field where wooden barracks to house P.O.W.s was located.



The barracks were torn down or collapsed decades ago, leaving few remnants of the camp.



The only remnant of the P.O.W. barracks is the sentry tower, which overlooked the P.O.W. complex.



A guard house on Sussex Avenue, built in 1901.



The Mine Casemate that was a part of Battery Best, named after Major Clermont Best. The battery was originally named Battery Rodney, after Caesar Rodney, who signed the Declaration of Independence. The battery was built in 1900.



The switchboard room for Battery Best.



The top of the switchboard room and the battery is now covered with trees and plant growth.



The chimney is all that is left of the incinerator, and is now located deep in the woods. The incinerator was built before World War II.



Batteries Gibson and Read, located in a grassy clearing, surrounded by woods and marshland.



The battery was constructed in 1898 and was used until World War I.



The Gibson Battery had two M1888 8-inch guns, which were located in the middle of the structure. The Read Battery flanked the Gibson Battery, and used two M1888 12-inch guns.



Looking inside the battery.



Battery Gibson was named after Colonel James Gibson, who was killed in action in Fort Erie, Ontario, in 1814. Battery Read was named after George Read, one of Delaware's signers of the Declaration of Independence and a U.S. Senator representing Delaware.



Inside the battery.



The concrete walls of the 350-foot long battery.



The southern parapet of a twenty-gun battery, built in the 1870s and located in the woods behind Batteries Gibson and Read. This battery was dismantled after the Spanish-American War.



The old artillery emplacement. Very little remains of this dismantled battery today.



An old steel drum in the woods.



Battery Elder, located in the woods.



Inside the battery.



Battery Elder was built in 1902 and was used until 1942, when the guns were moved to Bayview Beach, located down the Delaware River.



An emplacement for one of the 3-inch rapid-fire guns.



The Elder Battery was named after Major Samuel Elder, a Civil War atrillery officer who died in 1885.



A pump house, located near the Delaware River. The pump house was built in 1899.



Pilings for an old pier, sticking out into the Delaware River.



Pier pilings, with Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the background.



Looking across the Delaware River from Fort DuPont at Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. Fort DuPont, Fort Delaware, and Fort Mott in New Jersey colectively protected the port cities of Wilmington and Philadelphia during the Civil War.



The old Grass Dale horse rehabilitation track, located west of the military base. The track was added to Fort DuPont State Park in 1993 and is now used for bird-watching.



Old horse stables near the racing track.

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Old Posted Mar 11, 2009, 4:52 PM
urbino urbino is offline
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Thank you. It is very impressive.
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Old Posted Mar 11, 2009, 7:00 PM
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interesting. the batteries make me want to go back and tour Fort Sumter...maybe i'll kayak out there this summer. the historic buildings bring back plenty of memories of getting shuffled around old barracks and old parts of army bases. i hope they can restore 'em and put them to good use.

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Old Posted Mar 11, 2009, 7:03 PM
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Excellent and interesting tour. Thanks.
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Old Posted Mar 12, 2009, 8:19 AM
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Very cool, thanks I love exploring old abandoned places like this, there's actually a couple old abandoned military installations around where I live as well. Another Camp Reynolds, located in Transfer, PA and an Air Force Base that was abandoned in the mid 60s in Brookfield, OH.
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2009, 4:46 PM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSyd View Post
interesting. the batteries make me want to go back and tour Fort Sumter...maybe i'll kayak out there this summer. the historic buildings bring back plenty of memories of getting shuffled around old barracks and old parts of army bases. i hope they can restore 'em and put them to good use.

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Is part of Fort Sumter abandoned? I thought that the whole thing was a National Monument?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugdogmaster View Post
Very cool, thanks I love exploring old abandoned places like this, there's actually a couple old abandoned military installations around where I live as well. Another Camp Reynolds, located in Transfer, PA and an Air Force Base that was abandoned in the mid 60s in Brookfield, OH.
It seems like there's a lot of abandoned places in western Pennsylvania and nearby places. Aren't there also a bunch of old Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnels in the area?
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2009, 5:31 AM
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Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
It seems like there's a lot of abandoned places in western Pennsylvania and nearby places. Aren't there also a bunch of old Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnels in the area?
Those are further east, more towards the center of the state, but yes, there's a few stretches of the original turnpike which are now abandoned and really cool to explore.
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