Digest>Archives> April 2006

My Father's Memories

By Art Eberhart


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Built in 1910, the Elbow of Cross Ledge ...

Fog, so thick you could cut it with a knife, making your hands invisible inches from your eyes. Ships’ horns cried

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Pen and ink drawing of the Elbow of Cross Ledge ...

in alarm, as mariners searched for safe passage through

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Coast Guardsman Arthur R. Eberhart in the 1940s.

the gloomy nights on Delaware Bay. As passing ships avoided collisions by a whisker, Elbow of Cross Ledge Lighthouse stood perilously tall as their guiding beacon. Ships were often tossed like popcorn by dark, titanic waves, as howling winds sandblasted vehicles on shore. These are my vague memories of life facing U.S. Coast Guardsmen on

the Delaware Bay 60 years ago, as told by my father,

Arthur R. Eberhart. He was stationed at Lewes, Delaware as an Electrician Mate 3rd Class, U.S. Coast Guard, during 1943. He loved the adventures created by the dangers of the bay, but he was also mesmerized by the guiding lighthouses. The beauty of Elbow of Cross Ledge Lighthouse inspired my father to capture its meticulous structure on calmer days with pen and ink. I’m certain; he never dreamed that just ten years later, the lighthouse would be destroyed forever, by the freighter Steel Apprentice, blinded by the opaque fog.

My father volunteered to leave the sanctuary of Lewes, Delaware, to serve aboard the U.S.S. LST 787, sailing to the Philippines and Japan for the remainder of the war. During a brief dockage in Subic Bay, he met his older brother, who was serving at another LST. He received

an honorable discharge on January 10, 1946, and returned to his career as a teacher at Whitehall High School in Pennsylvania.

Few people know of this legendary octagon brick lighthouse that once guided mariners through treacherous water of the Delaware Bay.

This story appeared in the April 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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