We continue to report on some of the little know facts of the Peninsula in honor of the 100th anniversary of Presque Isle becoming a state park.
Tonight, how a peaceful place helped America prepare for war.
With it’s pristine natural beauty, few places in our area are as peaceful as Presque Isle State Park. It is hard to imagine that this place could also serve as a setting for practicing for war.
But, as this 1948 aerial picture shows us, Presque Isle once served as a backdrop for combat, complete with a shooting range and heavy firing wall in the days before and during World War II.
“The one unique thing about the peninsula because it changes so quickly so sand can cover things real quick in a day. I’ve seen it so there’s a lot of hidden structures scattered all throughout the peninsula and this is one of my favorite structures,” said Brian Gula, Presque Isle State Park.
The Firing Wall can be found just off the North Pier Trail, not all that far from the Beach 11 playground. For years, Mother Nature has kept the firing wall as one of her secrets, using wind and sand to keep away prying eyes. In recent years, she has changed her mind and now the Presque Isle winds reveal more of this historic structure.
“So, all I could see was the top of the wall and that was about 15 years ago. That’s what unique about Presque Isle is how quickly things can change and sometimes the whole story can be revealed right before your eyes,” Gula said.
If you want to see the Firing Wall for yourself, it’s a reasonable hike along the North Pier Trail.
The 1948 aerial picture is available in the history exhibit on the first floor of TREC. For access to a map or more specific information, you can stop by the TREC park office during normal business hours or call (814) 833-7424.