Jan
28
2017

Location seed: Bennett’s Pier, Delaware.

It’s weird, how easy it’d be to hide dead towns before Google Earth.  And maybe after it, too.

bennetts-pier-delaware-google-docs

 

Bennett’s Pier, Delaware

The town of Bennett’s Pier in Delaware actually predates Kent County itself; it was founded in 1679.  It was a prosperous enough agricultural and fishing community for virtually its entire existence, having neither major crises or notoriety.  In 1940 the US Census for the town reported its population as being 2,341, which made it a respectable town and close to city by Delaware standards.

There is no 1950 Census listing for the town.

Getting to Bennett’s Pier is surprisingly difficult: there is one road that supposedly leads to the town, and it stops about a mile out.  The road is not merely closed: some time in the last sixty years at least three hundred feet of it was torn up, and trees and shrubs planted in the dirt.  By now nothing short of a tank could get through the underbrush.  Determined visitors on foot will discover that an unbroken line of Pyracantha angustifolia shrubs has been planted all around the town, right up to the beach itself.  On the beach are two piles of extremely-dangerous looking rocks which thoroughly block vision and are liberally festooned with signs saying that the site is a protected wildlife reserve and that trespassing is a Class-D felony punishable by a fine of ten thousand dollars and/or up to a year in jail.  Pretty much the only way in is by boat, and the best approaches to the town all happen to be on standard Coast Guard patrol routes.

 

More bizarrely, the town does not show up on Google Maps, all historical references to the town have been scrubbed from the Internet, and the current descriptions of the place claim that it is an undeveloped piece of beachfront that can be visited, but almost never is (the fishing is apparently particularly bad there).  Actually finding historical references requires physical visits to county courthouses and local libraries. Even the US Census information may be compromised; texts containing the relevant data have had a distressing tendency lately to get damaged, then replaced with facsimile copies.

 

Assuming that sufficiently motivated investigators somehow get to the town anyway, they will find that it is rapidly reverting back to scrubland and beach, with apparently the deliberate introduction of rose bushes and Japanese Hardy Orange to help things along. It will also show that Bennett’s Pier was apparently the subject of a violent battle; burnt-out wrecks of Sherman tanks and curiously misshapen skeletons (many still dressed in fragments of old-style clothes) litter the entire area.  And whatever destroyed the tanks apparently used hand weapons to do it, too.

 

At the center of town is what appears to be a set of concrete and wood barricades surrounding what looks to be the former bank.  Nothing grows within one hundred feet of the bank, which means that the piles of skeletons — some in more-preserved clothes, and some in full US Army battledress — are distressingly obvious. As is the fact that the door to the bank has been bricked over, covered with cement, has what looks to be a Seal of Solomon covering every joint, and is half-covered with a sign that says (in half a dozen languages, including Ancient Egyptian) “IF YOU OPEN THIS DOOR PEOPLE WILL DIE.”

 

All in all, this is not a good location to be in if you do not like to be apprehensive.  The really disturbing thing about all of this, though?  If this is such a big deal, then: why is the site abandoned?

 

5 Comments

  • Luke says:

    It’s really amazing how much history gets lost. In the area I grew up, over 5 out of 6 towns that existed in my grandfather’s day no longer do. Some of them are marked by a lingering placename or a crumbing building or two, but most have just been plowed under. And no one remembers them.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      I was surprised, honestly: I thought that I’d have to adapt that particular location more. But, no, only one road that leads right to the pier and no other human habitation for miles. And Delaware has been settled for something like 350 years.

  • AndaO says:

    my paternal grandmother’s house in Tangier, IN. gone. a long flight of cement steps up to the “front” door which no one ever used. gone.

    We (all the cousins) played school on the steps. The “teacher” would hide a stone in either the left or right hand. The “student” would guess. Guess correctly and move up one step. guess wrong and stay still.

    & the big red brick school (up to 8th grade) gone, too. The playing fields were directly on my grandmother’s back yard.

    All the houses along the up and down hilly cross roads that I still sometimes remember in dreams. Gone.
    The place where my grandmother was an early telephone switchboard operator. Gone.

    Think the Quaker meeting is still there. maybe.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      My father in law lives out in the country, and there’s the remains of a farm on his property. Not that you can really tell, after a couple of hundred years.

      • nicklevi86 says:

        My uncle owns a lot of land, bought up from old farms around his own with only overgrown foundation holes and the odd stone wall to mark them. In the middle of one field, surrouned by juniper, is the solitary grave of a young girl.

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