Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Concrete of Kiptopeke
We recently vacationed in Kiptopeke Va. Kiptopeke is a small town on Virginia’s lower eastern shore located near the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We spent a few days there fishing and sightseeing on the lower Chesapeake. One of the many interesting features of this area is the breakwater located offshore of the Kiptopeke state park. The breakwater was formed by sinking eight concrete ships near shore. The ships were built by the McCloskey and Company of Tampa Bay, Florida during the years of 1943 and 1944.
They were used as training and stores ships in the south pacific during WWII. They are in fact constructed of steel reinforced concrete. Their names are the S.S.William Foster Cowham, S.S. John Grant, S.S. Robert Whitman Lesley, S.S. Richard Kidder Meade, S.S. Willard A. Pollard, S.S. Willis A. Slater, S.S. Arthur Newell Talbot, S.S. Edwin Thatcher, and the S.S. Leonard Chase Wason.
They were sunk in 1948 to form a breakwater for the northern terminus of the ferry which ran between Virginia Beach and the eastern shore. Upon completion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel the ferry closed and the grounds became Kiptopeke Beach State Park. A boat launch and fishing pier and campgrounds are now located at the site. In retrospect these ships only served as vessels for four to five years but have done service in their second life for fifty eight.
Today they serve their job as a breakwater well as this photograph depicts