Virginia’s shores are some of the most pristine areas in the entire state. And then there are some that speak of history and even decay. Kiptopeke State Park is one such area known mostly by locals, who admire this vision of beautiful erosion that speaks to World War II’s Maritime Commission. Here’s more about this truly unique location:
Decay by nature is an eerie process, but there’s something about the Concrete Fleet, also referred to as the Kiptopeke Breakwater, that creates a beautiful display along the Chesapeake’s waters. It’s truly a vision to behold, especially at night. Folks walking along the friendly, well-lit peers will gaze out onto the horizon and eventually be able to perceive the outline of these hauntingly beautiful ghost ships.
These nine concrete ships were once part of a group of twenty-four ordered by the U.S. Maritime Commission during the second World War. The ships were brought to the area to serve as a protective force in the event of extreme weather. At that time, they were positioned near the ferry terminal and could take on water.
In 1964, the aforementioned ferry closed but the Concrete Fleet continues to provide a different sort of protection. Today it’s the home for an array of native fish, birds, and shellfish. With over 50 years of weather exposure and rust, it seems an unlikely candidate for shelter. However, this characteristic is exactly what makes for such a striking display.
Positioned just a quarter mile from the shore, these ships have become an intrinsic part of the coastline. There are even holes in some of the structures that have eroded so much as to allow small ships to pass through them. One can only wonder how long it will be until these maritime structures are erased completely.