Photographs of Fire-Control Towers
of the Chesapeake Bay Harbor Defense Command

(Virginia Beach locations)

About Base-End Stations

Sightings made through the optical instruments at base-end stations were coordinated by time-interval bells that rang synchronously throughout the entire system. Using this method, the location of a target could be determined from several towers at the same instant. Data from these observers, along with weather information, was telephoned on secure lines to bomb-proof plotting rooms. A primitive computer processed all of the incoming information and then provided artillery crews with aiming coordinates based on the predicted location of the moving enemy ship at the time of firing. Because the shells might be fired as far as 25 miles, the rotation of the Earth had to be taken into consideration when calculations were being made.


Stairway foundation to Granite Tower B (photo 1). N 3655.350 W07602.531 (USCGS)
Foundation to Granite Tower A (photo 2). N 3655.455 W07602.502 (USCGS)
The Tower C site is under the Club parking lot. N 3655.515 W07602.599 (USCGS)
Behind Tower A was the Map Control Station. N 3655.455 W07602.493 (USACE)
A switchboard room still stands behind the Tower B site.


The Casemate Tower built over the Mine Casemate at Fort Story.
It served Battery Worcester, Battery Cramer or 226, and the minefield.
This tower was torn down before my visit in June 2007.
N 3655.833 W07601.866 (USCGS)


This tower was located at 67th Street, just off Atlantic Avenue, between Fort Story and the main resort area of Virginia Beach.
This was known as Parcel C - Tower A. N 3653.605 W07559.281 (USCGS)
This tower was torn down July 2003. MORE PHOTOS - click here
Two azimuth instrument pedestals from this tower are now on display at Ft Mott, NJ (Battery Krayenbuhl & museum).
Tower B was dismantled in 1960. N 3653.574 W07559.283 (USCGS)
These towers served Fort Story and Fort John Custis.


Part of the foundation to this house is of Tower A at the location
known as Hollies off 46th Street in Virginia Beach
(the portion topped with bricks). N 3652.233 W07558.945 (USCGS)
This tower served Fort Story and Fort John Custis.
Tower B was located on the other side of the house. N 3652.431 W07559.103 (USCGS)
Also near this location was a radar tower and two searchlights.
SCR - N 3652.428 W07559.047
SL 5 - N 3652.412 W07559.043, SL 6 - N 3652.478 W07559.064


Sand Bridge Tower B was dismantled in 1993. N 3644.876 W07556.932
Tower A was dismantled soon after WW2. N 3644.915 W07556.958 (USCGS)
Both towers served Fort Story and Fort John Custis. The foundation to both towers
still remain, but the Tower A site is not easily photographed because of the

The aerial photograph is of the Sandbridge parcel that contained both towers
[a diagonal road leads to it in the woods behind the residential area].

Note: There were several more towers, but they have been dismantled. The other locations were (listed from north to south):
North Buckroe (1 tower at Buckroe Beach, Hampton) N 3703.254 W07617.065 (USCGS)
Chesapeake Beach (1 tower near US 13) N 3655.169 W07608.084 (USCGS)
Emerson or Parcel B (2 towers off 72nd Street) N 3653.801 W07559.600 (approx), N 3653.795 W07559.598 (USCGS)
Rifle Range (3 towers near Camp Pendleton) N 3649.445 W07558.622 (USCGS Tower A), N 3649.400 W07558.603 (USCGS Tower B), Tower C site undetermined
Little Island (1 tower at Little Island Park) approx N 3641.544 W07555.375

In addition:
120th St. Seacoast Radar Tower (off today's 82nd St.) approx N 3654.407 W07559.700
Rifle Range Searchlights 3 & 4 (at Camp Pendleton) N 3648.949 W07558.185 (USCGS "Pendleton N"), N 3648.924 W07558.178 (USCGS "Pendleton S")
Dam Neck Searchlights 1 & 2 (at Dam Neck Navy Base) approx N 3646.854 W07557.432
Ocean View Searchlights 22, 23 (previously 20) (Ocean View Beach in Norfolk) approx N3656.980 W07614.582

Side note: In Norfolk, Sarah Constant Beach, Ocean View Elementary School and the interchange area of Tidewater Dr. and Ocean View Ave. was the site of the Navy's Willoughby Reservation (N 3657.555 W07615.523).


This tower is believed to be the Searchlight Controller Tower and is still used by the Navy at the gunnery range.
N 3646.810 W07557.448