Category: Heritage-Virginia

Tangier Sound Lighthouse

Tangier Sound Lighthouse was built in 1890 in the Chesapeake Bay just southeast of Tangier Island. It was a square screwpile lighthouse. The lighthouse suffered damage in a 1905 ice flow that drove a schooner into the structure. The lighthouse was automated prior to being dismantled in 1961. The current steel tower was erected on …

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Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/tangier-sound-lighthouse/

Lyceum Museum – (4th & 5th Order Fresnel lenses)

The Lyceum is Alexandria’s History Museum. Originally built in 1839 as a community center and library, this elegant Greek revival structure still serves as an educational and cultural focal point. An ongoing exhibition tells the story of Alexandria, founded in 1749 and once one of the busiest ports in America. Using archaeological finds, old photographs, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/heritage-lyceum-museum-4th-5th-order-fresnel-lenses/

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 a hexagonal screwpile lighthouse with two additional fender piles, one on each of the ebb and flow sides of the structure for additional stability against ice …

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Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/york-spit/

Windmill Point Lighthouse

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 a white hexagonal screwpile style that was assembled at Lazaretto Depot in Maryland. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/windmill-point/

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

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. In 1867, John Donohoo of Havre De Grace, Maryland built the original 48′ foot tower in 1833. It had a fifth order Fresnel lens. The keeper’s quarters, at 20 …

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Tue Marshes

Originally called “Too’s Marshes” the Tue Marshes Lighthouse was built in 1875 at the entrance to the York River on the Goodwin Islands. It was a square screwpile lighthouse and was built at a cost of $15,000. It had two additional fender piles, one on each of the ebb and flow sides of the structure …

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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 hoped to rebuild the lighthouse on land, but …

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Pungoteague River

Pungoteague River Lighthouse was built in 1854 just offshore near the entrance to the Pungoteague Creek in Accomack County, Virginia. It was the first screwpile built in the Chesapeake Bay and was built by Major Bache. It was constructed on seven pneumatic piles and was equipped with a fifth order lens. The lighthouse was overturned …

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Point of Shoals

Point of Shoals Lighthouse had two lighthouses. The first was built in 1855 and was a hexagonal screwpile lighthouse with a pressed-glass masthead lens. It was located in Burwell Bay in the James River in Virginia a little below Mulberry Island Point on the right side of the main channel, heading upriver. Confederates made a …

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Pages Rock

Pages Rock Lighthouse was built in 1893 in the York River off of Blundering Point, Virginia. This was about 5 miles north of the town of Yorktown. It was a hexagonal screwpile lighthouse with a fourth order Fresnel lens and the tower was constructed on the roof. The lighthouse was assembled at the Lazaretto Depot …

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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

Nansemond River Lighthouse was built in 1878 near Pig Point on the eastern side of the entrance to the Nansemond River in Suffolk, Virginia. It was a white hexagonal woodpile lighthouse. It had a sixth order Fresnel lens. The lens was replaced in 1899 with a fifth order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse was assembled at …

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Lamberts Point

Lamberts 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. The house was brown in color and the lantern had a red light of the fifth order. The foundation settled unevenly, perhaps due to the missing sixth pile, and …

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Killock Shoal

Killock Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1886 as a rectangular screwpile lighthouse. It was not a standard Chesapeake Bay style screwpile as it was a 1-1/2 story frame house with a square frame light lower at one end. The lighthouse was located at the north end of the Chincoteague Channel and adjacent to Chincoteague Island. …

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Jordan Point

Jordan Point Lighthouse was built in 1855 on the James River near Hopewell, Virginia. The first lighthouse was a white keeper’s quarters with a light on the red roof of the structure containing a pressed-glass masthead lens. The house was removed in 1875 due to shore erosion. A square pyramidal wooden bell tower was built …

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Hog Island

The first Hog Island Lighthouse was built in 1852 and was a white conical brick tower. This lighthouse lasted until 1896 when it was replaced with a cast iron pyramidal skeletal tower with a central cylinder. This lighthouse was similar to the Cape Charles lighthouse today. Both lighthouses were built on what was the southern …

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Great Wicomico River

Great Wicomico River Lighthouse was built in 1889 at the entrance to Great Wicomico River in the Chesapeake Bay near Fleeton, Virginia. It was a hexagonal screwpile lighthouse with a fourth order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse was assembled at Lazaretto Depot in Maryland. The lighthouse was dismantled in 1967 and replaced with a small automatic …

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Dutch Gap Canal

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 …

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Deep Water Shoal

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. It was a small screwpile lighthouse that was white with a red roof and had a masthead lens. The light suffered …

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Craney Island

              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 …

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Cherrystone Bar

                        Photo taken at Choptank River location. 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 …

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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 1800’s, 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

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 the Grandview area of the City of Hampton, Virginia. It was …

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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

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

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 shore line 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 …

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Old Point Comfort

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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New Point Comfort

The New Point Comfort light, the third oldest light on the Bay, was built in 1804. It is located at the entrance to Mobjack Bay and the mouth of the York River in Mathews County, Virginia. In 1865 the 63-foot tower was fitted with a new fourth-order Fresnel lens that allowed the light to be …

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