The Mysterious Big Stone Beach, Delaware, Located on the Delaware Bay
Big Stone Beach's name would lead us to believe there must be large rock formations on the beach like on the West Coast of the United States. The coastal zone along the Delaware Bay, however, does not have any steep rock formations. Rather, it is made up of low lying marshes that often lead to sandy beaches. My curiosity piqued, I set out to take photos of this beach and its unique rock structures.
As I drove along Big Stone Beach Road, I passed through two and a half miles of beautiful forests and low marshlands inhabited by a variety of songbirds and shorebirds. A half mile from the beach, the freshwater marshes lapped lazily at the grassy edges of the road, and in the distance, I could see a tall black structure that reminded me of a fire watch tower. A few cottages lined the bay, but I didn't see any inhabitants or people on the beach.
Big Stone Beach is a very quiet beach, and in the vicinity of its entrance road, there are no large natural rock formations or manmade structures composed of stone. Could the name have originated from a local Native American word describing the sizes of stones on the beach or the size of the beach itself?
The military history of the beach and the black tower dates back to the end of WWI when a commissioned fort, Fort Saulsbury, was built to protect the eastern shore. During WWII, the United States used the fort to house prisoners of war and the staff who guarded them. Was the name of the beach related to a military maneuver?
The Big Stone Beach area is environmentally protected because of Ted Harvey's foresight. Ted Harvey acquired 2700 acres along Big Stone Beach as part of the Ted Harvey Wildlife Area, giving the organization control over land that had been planned to be appropriated by oil companies for major building projects. Today, the conservation district is one of the premier East Coast wildlife refuges.
Directions to Big Stone Beach: North of Milford, Delaware, on Route 1, turn right (NE) at Thompsonville Road and go 3.5 miles. Turn right (E) onto Scotts Corner Road, arriving at Scott's Corners in 1.1 miles. Take a left (NE) onto Big Stone Beach Road. The road reaches the bayshore in another 2.6 miles after traveling through forests and marshes inhabited by songbirds and shorebirds.