The Ormond Beach Watchtower was one of roughly 15,200 watchtowers built all along the coast of the United States during the Second World War. The towers were manned by civilian lookouts armed only with binoculars and a telephone, ready to alert the Coast Guard to any incoming threats.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, countless Americans chose to volunteer with the Ground Observation Corps, a defensive force established by the federal government. The Corps built watchtowers lining the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts in order to scan the horizons for signs of another attack.
The effort was not in vain. In January of 1942, German U-boats began to stalk Atlantic waters, sinking American ships and thwarting the U.S. war effort. By that summer, 180 U.S. ships had been attacked by the German submarines. The civilian lookouts often contacted the Coast Guard to rescue the survivors.
After the end of the war, the towers were abandoned, and most have been lost over the years. But a replica of the Ormond Beach Watchtower continues to guard the Atlantic coast. The tower standing today was recreated in 2005 as a monument honoring the civilians who worked to protect the U.S. in times of war. The tower is accessible via the Ormond Scenic Loop.