Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: 1942 Volume 5 Number 1, Page 4

The Berwyn Lookout or Observation Point

Page 4

"Have the American people become soft?" This has "been the popular query by writers, and the implication has had us all guessing before the test. During the cantonment of the Continentals at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778, such a question would have seemed absurd, for sentinels perched upon rude platforms placed high in the "Sentinel" or "Signal" trees, situated between the camp and the enemy, were exposed to the bitterest winds and storms, as they sought advance information of the movements of the foe.

So today we have volunteer sentinels on the rooftop of the Township building, those who brave exposure to the elements and are willing to do their bit toward spotting hostile planes if they should appear. Yes, we can still "take it". We take pride in having one of the most efficient Lookout Posts in the County. Alfred Patten is named the "Chief Observer", with Mrs. C. L. Reifsneider in charge; her duty is to see that the Post is served by two observers every hour, night and day.

Lookout Post, Township Building

The genesis of this service occurred last October (from the 9th to 16th inclusive) when a trial watch was set on the roof of the Junior High School building, and immediately resumed as a regular watch directly after the declaration that a state of war existed. On December 16, by the consent of the War Department, it was transferred to the Tredyffrin Building. 168 persons, beside 31 on the emergency list, are enrolled as regular observers for stated hours, many of whom have had rather unpleasant experiences during the exceedingly cold and stormy weather.

When we assert that our local observers "can take it", we recognize that the time of exposure is seldom over two hours, and recently there has been erected a small glass-enclosed shelter; yet we also recall that when the Revolutionary army was encamped at White Marsh and the cold intense, Washington ordered the sentinels changed every hour. The list of our observers is too long to publish here, but somewhere, and why not in the Archives of the Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club, the Honor Roll should be deposited.


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