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Lecture on the World-War-II-era Fort Miles to take place at Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum on Jan. 18, 2014

Date Posted: Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Categories:  Historical and Cultural Affairs News

List of museum programs through June 2014 also included

Historical photo of a gun battery at Fort Miles.On Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at 2 p.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will present a lecture on Fort Miles by Dr. Gary Wray, president of the Fort Miles Historical Association. The program is the 1940s chapter of “Delaware Decades,” an eight-part series of lectures exploring successive decades in Delaware’s history from the 1930s to the 2000s. Admission to the event is free and open to the public but seating is limited due to space restrictions. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Built in 1941, Fort Miles was an American military installation located on Cape Henlopen at the mouth of the Delaware Bay near Lewes, Del. The fort was built to defend the Delaware River and Bay from attack by the German navy during World War II. After the end of the war, military use of the fort decreased incrementally. In 1964, 543 acres of the facility were returned to the state of Delaware forming the heart of Cape Henlopen State Park. Over time, more land was transferred to the park until the military ceased all operations in 1991. In April, 2005, Fort Miles was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Fort Miles Historical Area is now available for public visitation throughout the year.

Dr. Gary Wray has been president of the Fort Miles Historical Association since its founding in 2003 and is responsible for leading the organization in its goal of preserving, protecting and defending all aspects of Fort Miles. Wray is co-author of a book (with the late Lee Jennings, a Delaware State Parks historian) on Fort Miles published by Arcadia Press in 2005. He has served as both president and vice president of the Cape Henlopen School Board and is an elected trustee of the Delaware Historical Society. In 2008, he was chosen by the state of Delaware as the State Volunteer of the Year for his work in support of Fort Miles. Wray is currently a professor at Wilmington University, the University of Maryland, and Delaware Technical and Community College.

The Zwaanendael Museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), the museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters.

Zwaanendael Museum exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history. Current exhibits include “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” which tells the story of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798; and “Delaware and the War of 1812” which examines the service and sacrifice of Delawareans of 1812 to 1815, and the important role that the state played in a conflict that helped shape the development of the United States as a nation.

Following is a schedule of Zwaanendael-Museum-sponsored events through June 2014. Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Zwaanendael Museum located at 102 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE 19958. Admission is free for all events listed. For additional information, call 302-645-1148:

Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014
“Delaware’s Decades—the 1940s: ‘Ft. Miles.’ ” Lecture by Dr. Gary Wray on the World War II-era military installation on CapeHenlopen. Part two of an eight-part series exploring decades in Delaware’s history. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014
“Delaware’s Decades—the 1950s: ‘Menhaden Industry in Lewes.’ ” Lecture by Tom Brown, Lewes Historical Society volunteer and former archivist with the National Archives. Part three of an eight-part series exploring decades in Delaware’s history. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 15, 2014
“Delaware’s Decades—the 1960s: ‘History of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.’ ” Lecture by J. Fred Coldren, former business manager of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and historian for the 50th anniversary of the ferry. Part four of an eight-part series exploring decades in Delaware’s history. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Thursday–Saturday, April 10-12, 2014
Lewes Tulip Festival. City-wide series of activities celebrating Lewes’ Dutch heritage including Dutch games, crafts and a display of Delftware ceramics at the Zwaanendael Museum. Sponsored by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce. Downtown Lewes, DE19958. 302-645-8073.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Dutch-American Friendship Day. Discover Delaware’s Dutch roots and learn how that connection is alive today. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 26, 2014
King’s Day. Help celebrate the birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in a program that will also explore royal titles and Delaware’s Dutch connection. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 24, 2014
3rd Annual Zwaanendael Maritime Festival. Maritime-themed activities, games, displays by local organizations and more. 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Sunday, June 15 and 16, 2014
“16th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: ‘With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War.’ ” Day-long series of activities culminating with re-enactors portraying historic personalities. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE 19958. Times TBA.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
“16th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: ‘With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War.’ ” Concert. Performer TBA. Stango Park, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes, DE19958. 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 18 and 19, 2014
“16th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: ‘With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War.’ ” Day-long series of activities culminating with re-enactors portraying historic personalities. Lewes Historical Society complex, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes, DE 19958. Times TBA. 302-645-7670.

-End-

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone:  302-736-7413
E-mail:  Jim.Yurasek@state.de.us
Web:   http://history.delaware.gov

 

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