World War II Watch Tower
Thursday, October 30, 1974
WORLD WAR II WATCH TOWER: This is how the aircraft observation tower, located along the north side of Hampton's High Street, between Thomsen and Moulton Roads., looked in 1942 (left photo). After the Hampton Historians, Inc., story about the tower appeared in the Oct. 9 Hampton Union (see at bottom of this page), Mrs. Florence Fleming of Hampton came forward with this photo. Mrs. Fleming and her late husband "Hank" manned this post afternoons during the war. The house, the platform and the catwalk with railing can still be seen serving the town of Hampton as the Ashworth Avenue parking lot toll booth, (right photo).
The 1942 photo, looking northwest, shows the first houses on Hobbs Road. At the 1941 annual town meeting, it was voted to accept the deed and maintenance of a 50-foot strip of land from the Estate of Warren H. Hobbs provided that the Estate "first builds a road over said land."
First Service Command, December 10, 1942
Courtesy Hamptons' American Legion Post 35
[A Hampton Union/Beachcomber photo by George Hagopian -- August 1, 1951]
I FIGHTER COMMAND
GROUND OBSERVER CORPS
Be it known that
having satisfactorily completed a course of study in
is rated as competent to perform the duties of
and is awarded this Certificate in recognition thereof this 27th day of June 1943.
Ground Observer Officer
Boston Filter Area Glenn O. Barcus
Brigadier General, U.S. Army
I FIGHTER COMMAND
Aircraft Warning Service
Certificate of Honorable Service
This is to certify, that John Holman, a member of the Army Air Forces Aircraft Warning Serevice, as a testimonial of loyal and faithful volunteer service hereby becomes a member of the Army Air Forces Aircraft Warning Service Reserve.
Given under my hand at Mitchel Field, New York, this twenty ninth day of May, 1944.
Colonel, Air Corps
"Auxiliary Police" Photo Follow up
Hampton Union, October 9, 1974
HAMPTON BEACH -- A few weeks ago the Union published a large photo on page 3 which showed 14 men of Hampton who were Auxiliary Police during World War II. That 30 year old photo generated some Memories among the survivors of that civilian contingent.
Herb Casassa "nostalgiaized" that he used to go out on night patrols to ensure that everyone, obeyed the blackout. Along the seacoast and inland all buildings had to have blackout curtains on the east, north and south sides, or otherwise make sure that lighting didn't show. The possibility of Nazi sea or air attack was always present. Sightings of U-Boats along the Atlantic coast brought renewed vigilance. The Coast Guard had regular foot patrols along the beach.
Herb also recalls a wooden lookout tower built along High Street from which the coast could be seen. It was built on a high point of land on what is now the northeast corner of High St. and Thomsen Rd. but was then a vacant field. Elmer King, who built his home at 2 Thomsen Rd. just a few yards from the site of the watch tower, recalls the tower well.
After the war, a crane lifted the top, or house, part of the tower onto a flat bed truck and took it away. The legs and steps were used by the town's departments. Elmer, who was then working with Leavitt Magrath in the sewer department, remembers that whenever they had a hole in the ground to work in they'd cut off a suitable section of the stairs and use it to climb in and out. The supports were used for shoring excavations, etc.
And what became of the house? In our quest for historical trivia, we tracked it down. It's now used to collect tolls at the town's Ashworth Ave. parking lot at the Beach. The catwalk and railing around the building have puzzled the parking superintendent Wally McPherson but now he knows why they're attached.
So a World War II surplus hut still serves the town. During the 1974 summer season it performed yeoman service when $35,000 of the total $42,000 collected by the town at its two lots was accounted for by the Ashworth lot.