Maria Alvarez

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Fenwick Island

The lighthouse was authorized to be built in 1856 at a cost of $23,748.96. Work was begun on the 87-foot tall tower in 1857 and first lit on August 1, 1858. The light was needed to protect shipping from the treacherous Fenwick sand shoals that extend several miles out from the Delaware coast. The tower …

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York Spit Lighthouse

York Spit Lighthouse was built in 1870 in the Chesapeake Bay about 5 miles east of Rue Point at the southern entrance to the York River, Virginia. It was to mark a long shoal that paralleled the main channel into the York River eight miles into the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to the construction of the …

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Windmill Point Lighthouse

Photo Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard                 Windmill Point Lighthouse was built in 1869 at the entrance to the Rappahannock River on the north side. Three separate lightships were originally stationed here from 1834 until the lighthouse was constructed. Confederates took the first lightship in 1861. The lighthouse was …

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White Shoal Lighthouse

White Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1855 and was one of three screwpiles lighted on February 6 in the James River. The lighthouse was located below Sandy Point on the lower end of the shoal and on the right side of the main channel heading upriver near Newport News, Virginia. It was built to replace …

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Watts Island Lighthouse

Watts Island Lighthouse was built in 1833 on Little Watts Island, a seven-acre island, just south of Watts Island between the Eastern Shore peninsula and Tangier Island. John Donohoo of Havre De Grace, Maryland built the original brick 48-foot tower in 1833 which was equipped with a fifth-order Fresnel lens at a cost of $4,775. …

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Tue Marshes Lighthouse

Originally called “Too’s Marshes” the Tue Marshes Lighthouse was built in 1875 on the southern shore entrance to the York River on the Goodwin Islands. Built at a price of $15,000, it was a square white screwpile lighthouse with a brown roof, set on a wrought-iron foundation. It was originally equipped with a sixth-order Fresnel …

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Stingray Point Lighthouse

                Stingray Point Lighthouse was built in 1858 at the entrance to the Rappahannock River near Deltaville, Virginia. It was a hexagonal screwpile lighthouse. The lighthouse was automated just prior to being dismantled in 1965. Sections of the lighthouse were sold to Gilbert Purcell, a boatyard owner who …

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Pungoteague Creek Lighthouse

  The first Pungoteague Creek Lighthouse was built in 1854 just offshore near the entrance to the Pungoteague Creek in Accomack County, Virginia. It was built by Major Hartman Bache and was the first screwpile built in the Chesapeake Bay. During the winter of 1854, the superstructure, foundation, and ironwork were completed in Philadelphia, and …

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Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse

Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse was built in 1886 as a white rectangular screwpile with a tower on the roof. The lighthouse was located at the entrance to the channel leading to Cape Charles, Virginia and Old Plantation Creek. The lighthouse had an unusual foundation construction with a combination of screwpile and concrete pylons. The lighthouse …

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Nansemond River Lighthouse

Due to increased river traffic in the Nansemond area, Congress appropriated $15,000 on July 31, 1876, to construct a lighthouse Pig Point on the eastern side of the entrance to the Nansemond River in Suffolk, Virginia. The following year, a tract of land was obtained from the Governor of Virginia to construct the light. The …

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Lambert Point Lighthouse

Lambert Point Lighthouse was built in 1872 on the shore of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia. It was a square screwpile set on five piles, rather than the six that were planned. The house was brown in color and the lantern had a red light of the fifth order. In 1873, it was reported …

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Killock Shoal Lighthouse

On July 7, 1884, Congress appropriated $10,000 to construct a light on the north end of the Chincoteague Channel just adjacent to Chincoteague Island, known as the Killock Shoal Lighthouse (sometimes spelled Killick). After the site was selected, borings were made at a depth of seventeen feet, which showed that the bottom of the Bay …

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Jordan Point Lighthouse

Jordan Point Lighthouse-1885/National Archives Photo

Jordan Point Lighthouse was built in 1855 in the upper James River near Hopewell, Virginia, twenty miles from Richmond. Jordan Point was one of four early navigational aids on the James River leading to Richmond. The first lighthouse was a white, twenty-four foot by 17-foot rectangular two-story structure supported on stone piers with the lantern …

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Hog Island Lighthouse

The first Hog Island Lighthouse was built in 1852. It was a white conical brick tower equipped with 15 lamps set in 21-inch reflectors exhibiting a fixed white light that could be seen for 13 miles.  Adjacent to the lighthouse was a keeper’s dwelling.  In 1855, the lamps were replaced with a fourth-order Fresnel lens. …

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Great Wicomico River Lighthouse

On October 2, 1888, Congress appropriated $25,000 to build a lighthouse at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River on Virginia’s Western Shore. This would help guide mariners through two shallow shoals at the entrance of the river. Proposals for bids went out in January 1889 for the ironwork. The winning bid was for $13,975 …

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Timeline: Old Cape Henry Lighthouse

(Located at Fort Story, northern end of Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA) (Active Military base – Identification, Insurance proof, vehicle search required) (Revised – 03/25/2013) 1791-1792 Ninety-foot tall octagonal tower of sandstone built by John McComb, Jr. of New York for $17,700. First federal works project and first lighthouse built by US government. 1792 Laban …

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Timeline: New Cape Henry Lighthouse

(Located on grounds of Fort Story, northern end of Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA – (Active Military base – Identification, Insurance proof, vehicle search required) (Revised 03/25/2013) 1881 163 foot tall tower of white and black prefabricated cast-iron plates built 350 feet southeast of old tower. Jay Edwards, first keeper lights first-order Fresnel lens. Old …

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Dutch Gap Canal Lighthouse

Dutch Gap Canal Lights were constructed at either end of the canal in 1875 near Hopewell, Virginia on the upper James River. The lights were two 27-foot post lights. The lights were originally to be a sixth-order, but it was decided to use small lanterns, burning mineral oil. The canal was constructed by Union troops …

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Timeline: Chesapeake Light Tower

Chesapeake Light Tower

(Located 13 miles east of Virginia Beach, 14.5 miles ESE of Cape Henry, VA) (Revised – 03/26/2013) 1888-1965 Five Light vessels and LV-116/WAL-538 Chesapeake (1933 to 1965) mark the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. 1965 Chesapeake decommissioned. New, ultra modern lighthouse, an adaptation of an offshore oil drilling platform first used off Texas coast, is …

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Timeline: Cape Charles Lighthouse

(Located on the west side of the south part of Smith Island, seacoast of Virginia, 12 miles NNE of Cape Henry, Manager -VA Nature Conservancy (VA Coast Reserve) – tallest skeletal tower in US) (Revised 03/26/2013) 1828 First lighthouse, 51 foot masonry tower constructed. 1860 Construction of a second lighthouse begun. 1862 Confederate guerillas raid …

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Deep Water Shoals Lighthouse

The first Deep Water Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1855 on the James River northeast of Fort Eustis on the shoal on the right side of the channel, above Mulberry Island Point and below Lyon’s Creek. The light was first exhibited on February 6, 1855. It was a small, twenty-foot square, four-room white dwelling with …

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Craney Island Lighthouse

Photo courtesy U.S Coast Guard (1884 lighthouse).           The first permanent lightship station in the United States was anchored in 1820 in the lower Chesapeake Bay on the west side of the channel near the mouth of the Elizabeth River to guide vessels approaching Norfolk & Portsmouth harbors. This lightship was …

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Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse

The original request to build a small, screwpile lighthouse to mark the entrance to Cherrystone Harbor was in 1853.  Congress later appropriated $10,000 on August 3, 1854. Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse was completed and first lighted on January 1, 1858. It was a white, hexagonal screwpile lighthouse built just south of Cape Charles, Virginia. The light …

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Bowlers Rock Lighthouse

Bowlers Rock Lighthouse was built in 1868 on the Rappahannock River 30 miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay between Bowlers Landing and Suggetts Point in Virginia.  It was the only lighthouse built in or on the Rappahannock River. Prior to the lighthouse, two lightships were stationed in the upper part of the river approximately 8-1/2 miles …

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Bells Rock Lighthouse

In the 1800s, the dock at West Point was a major terminal for the Richmond & York River Railroad, which resulted in an increase of traffic on the York River.  This led to the appropriation of $35,000 to build a lighthouse to aid in guiding the ships to the railroad dock.  The lighthouse was built …

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Back River Lighthouse

Back River Lighthouse Remains 2021 – Photo by Greg Krawczyk    Back River Lighthouse was built in 1829 by Winslow Lewis of Boston at a cost $3,500 plus an additional $750 for his own lamps. It was constructed on four acres of land six miles north of Old Point Comfort between the Back-River entrance and …

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Wolf Trap

The Wolf Trap light is located in 16 feet of water on the eastern end of the Wolf Trap Spit south of where the Rappahannock River enters the Chesapeake Bay. It is a caisson tower with its light 52 feet above mean high water. Congress first appropriated funds for a light at Windmill Point or …

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Thimble Shoal Lighthouse

The first Thimble Shoal Lighthouse was a six-sided screwpile light erected in 1872. This light was first lit on October 15, 1872. This light replaced the last lightship in the bay. The light was listed as 3 ½ miles east of Old Point Comfort at Willoughby’s Spit and The Thimble entrance to Hampton Roads. On …

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Smith Point Lighthouse

Smith Point is located on the Southern side where the Potomac River enters the Bay. The first light at this point was erected in 1802. Erosion of the shoreline caused the light to be moved in 1807. In 1821 a lightship was stationed off the point. In 1828 erosion again forced the Light-House Board to …

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Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

This light is the second oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay. It was first lit in 1802 on the grounds of Fort George, the fort that was there prior to the current Fort Monroe. The 54 foot tall light was built by Elzy Burroughs who also built the New Point Comfort light located up the …

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