Pulpit Rock Tower is a historic landmark located in Rye, New Hampshire, that offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the region’s rich history. The tower was built in 1943 as part of the the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth during World War II. Its strategic location on Pulpit Rock, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor, made it an important asset for protecting the nearby naval shipyard and other key locations. It was connected to nearby Fort Dearborn using by telephone. Lookouts stationed at the tower could relay observational measurements to the gunman at Fort Dearborn who were in control of Battery Seaman.
The tower itself is an impressive structure, rising 73 feet high and consisting of six levels that are connected by a spiral staircase and the top two floors are connected by wooden stairs. The top level offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the ocean, the harbor, and the nearby coastline. It was truly a great viewpoint for lookout during World War 2.
Since its decommissioning in 1945 after World War 2 ended, the tower has undergone several restorations and renovations, with the most recent being in 2017. Today, it is open to the public and operated by the Friends of Pulpit Rock Tower, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the tower and its history. The tower is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is very unique considering it is the only one of New Hampshire’s original 14 World War II watchtowers to survive and remain in mint condition.
Visiting Pulpit Rock Tower is a unique and memorable experience that is not to be missed for history buffs and anyone interested in the region’s rich military heritage. The tower’s location, history, and stunning views make it a must-see attraction for visitors to the Rye, New Hampshire area. Many people drive by the tower and do not notice it, be sure to have the GPS coordinates ready when you seek it out!
- Year Established: 1943
- Year Abandoned: 1949
- Original Function: Military observation tower
- NRHP Reference Number: 10000188
- Date Added To NRHP: April 16, 2010
Pulpit Rock Tower Location
- Address: Ocean Boulevard (NH 1A)
- Town: Rye
- State: New Hampshire
- GPS: Lat 43.0335415 Lng -70.7226598
- Parking Notes: It is best to park at the dirt lot along Ocean Boulevard (NH 1A) right in front of Neptune Drive. You can then walk up Neptune Drive to see the tower up-close!
- Parking Directions: HERE
- Location Directions: HERE