Category: Heritage-Virginia

Keeper Bio: William James Diggs

Date of Service: 1916 – 1943 1882: Born January 5 in Mathews County, VA1908: Married Edna Grey Brooks on November 18 at Bethel United Methodist Church in Laban (now Onemo), Virginia. The couple raises three children, daughters Edna Virginia, Alice Jeanette and a son, James Carlton.1916 to 1917: Serves as Second Assistant Keeper at Wolf …

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Keeper Bio: Floyd Earl Crewe

Date of Service: 1930-1968 1908: Born on November 16 in Mathews County, VA.1930: Marries Melva Sadler on June 21. The couple raises three children.1930: Joins the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Serves as a seaman on Diamond Shoals Lightship #105.1933: Survives 150 mph winds of Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane. The Lightship is swept off course 5 miles.1937: Transferred to …

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Keeper Bio: Nelson Stanley Atherton

Date of Service: 1937-1965 1903: Born March 30 in Hallieford, Mathews County, VA.1920: Begins service in the Merchant Marine and as a crew member on the Steamer Pennsylvania. The vessel stopped at Old Point Comfort Lighthouse in route between Cape Charles and Norfolk, VA.1929: Married Arlys Hurst on August 26. The couple raises one daughter, …

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Timeline: Jordan Point Lighthouse

Jordan Point Lighthouse-1885/National Archives Photo

1852: Congress appropriates $15,000 for lighthouses to be built at Days Point, Point of Shoals, Deep Water Shoals and Jordan Point along the James River on August 31, 1852. 1853: The site for Jordan Point Lighthouse is selected and estimates and plans are made by Major Bache, which are approved. 1854: Construction begins on Jordan …

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Timeline: Deep Water Shoal Lighthouse

1837: A request is made by Beverly Kennon, Captain of the United States Navy, to construct a lighthouse at three locations along the James River in Virginia; Day’s Point, Point of Shoals and Deep Water & Lyon’s Creek Shoals. 1850: The U. S. Lighthouse Board authorizes $3,500 for preliminary work in the engineering & design …

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Timeline: Craney Island Lighthouse

1857: The Lighthouse Board recommends building a small screwpile lighthouse for a price of $10,000-$12,000 to replace the lightship that had served the station since 1820. 1859: The lightship is replaced by a square wooden structure on a screwpile foundation. 1861: The Confederates remove the lens & destroy the lighthouse. 1862: On June 23, 1862, …

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Timeline: Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse

1853: It is recommended by the Lighthouse Board to construct a small screwpile lighthouse on the shoals or Sandy Point to mark the entrance to Cherrystone Harbor for a price of $10,000. 1854: $10,000 is appropriated by Congress on August 3rd to construct the lighthouse. 1855: An additional request is made by the Lighthouse Board …

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Timeline: Bowlers Rock Lighthouse

1835: Lightship LV “O” is stationed in the Upper Rappahannock River approximately 8-1/2 miles downstream from the town of Tappahannock to mark a rock on the east side of the channel. 1861: Lightship LV “O” is captured by Confederate forces. 1864: Lightship LV-28 is stationed to replace the previous ship that was captured. 1867: The …

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Timeline: Bells Rock Lighthouse

Timeline: 1880: The first lighthouse is completed at Lazaretto Depot in Maryland on November 26, 1880, but instead is used in the rebuilding of the Thimble Shoal Light, which burned down. 1880: Iron work for the second lighthouse is manufactured by Messers, Paulding, Kemble & Co. in Cold Springs, NY., and completed in November. 1881: …

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Tangier Sound Lighthouse

Tangier Sound Lighthouse was built in 1890 in the Chesapeake Bay at the end of a long shoal just southeast of Tangier Island to accommodate the increasing oyster business in the area. The island was originally settled by Englishman John Crockett and his family in 1686. Built at a price of $25,000, the lighthouse was …

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Timeline: Back River Lighthouse

Timeline: Back River Lighthouse 1829:   A 30-foot-tall, conical, whitewashed brick lighthouse with ten oil lamps and ten reflectors and one-story keeper’s dwelling is constructed for just under $5,000 by Winslow Lewis between Back River entrance & the Grandview area of Hampton, Virginia. 1855:   Installation of a new revolving machine containing six, twenty-one-inch parabolic reflectors & …

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Timeline: Windmill Point Lighthouse

(Located at the end of a long shoal on the north side of the entrance to the Rappahannock River, VA – 03/31/18) 1834 First Lightship at location. 1869 Last lightship on site. White hexagonal cottage screw pile built at Lazaretto Depot in Baltimore. Towed on two schooners to site 120 miles south. Fitted with 5th-order …

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Timeline: Old Plantation Flats

(Located on a shoal off the mouth of Old Plantation Creek near the start of the channel leading to the town of Cape Charles, VA – 03-31-18) 1886 White rectangular cottage built on a combination of screw piles and concrete pilons. Fitted with 4th-order Fresnel lens. 1894 Charles Edwin Respess serves as keeper. 1896 Lighthouse …

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Timeline: Stingray Point Lighthouse

Stingray Point Lighthouse (Replica) Timeline (Located at Stingray Point Marina, Deltaville, VA – off VA Route 33 – 1.8 miles west of the original site on the Chesapeake Bay – 02/24/14) 1858 Original one story hexagonal three-room wood screwpile built on shoal between the Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers. 1/1/1859 Fixed white light lit from sixth-order …

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Timeline: Old Point Comfort

(Located on East Mellen Street, in front of Fort Monroe, facing the Chesapeake Bay, north side of the entrance to Hampton Roads, VA – Revised – 04/26/13) 1802/1803 54 foot octagonal cut-stone tower built by Elzy Burroughs – 2nd oldest lighthouse on the Bay; location- Fort George. 1812 British troops capture Fort George and use …

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Timeline: Wolf Trap

(Located three miles offshore, between the York & entrance to Rappahannock Rivers, Mathews County, VA – 03-14-18) 1821 Lightship stationed on Wolf Trap Shoal. 1861 Confederate troops destroy lightship. 1864 Lightship station re-established. 1870 Screw pile lighthouse built on shoal. 1893 Lighthouse destroyed by ice floes and swept 20 miles down the bay, settling near …

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Timeline: Thimble Shoal

(Located 3.5 miles east of Old Point Comfort, mouth of James River, Hampton Roads, VA) 1821 Lightship stationed near Thimble Shoal. 1872 First lighthouse, a screwpile, erected. 10/30/1880 Screwpile cottage destroyed by fire. Foundation survives. 12/24/1880 Screwpile cottage, destined for Bells Rock, VA installed instead on existing ironwork. 2nd fog bell installed. 1891 Lighthouse rammed …

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Timeline: Smith Point

(Located 80 miles south of Baltimore on the Virginia side of the entrance of the Potomac River, 2.5 miles east-southeast of Smith Point) 1802-93 Two land-based lighthouses, two lightships and one screwpile in service. 1893 Screwpile damaged by ice. Keepers abandon station. 1895 Screwpile carried away by ice. 1897 Present 52 foot tall caisson light …

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Timeline: Newport News Middle Ground

(Located at the confluence of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, Newport News, VA. Oldest caisson lighthouse in Virginia. Revised 04/04/18.) 1891 56-foot tall caisson with tower and cast-iron lantern built on L-shaped Middle Ground shoal. Five levels with basement in the top of the caisson. Fitted with 4th-order Fresnel lens and …

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Timeline: New Point Comfort

(Located at entrance of Mobjack Bay, 21 miles north of Old Point Comfort, in Mathews County, VA. Visible from observation platform /walkway at VA Nature Conservancy’s New Point Comfort Preserve, Bavon, VA – 03/25/18) 1804 58-foot octagonal cut-stone tower, 3rd oldest lighthouse on the Bay built by first keeper, Elzy Burroughs. 1865 4th-order Fresnel lens …

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Timeline: Jones Point

(Located one mile south of Alexandria, VA – on west bank of Potomac River, Jones Point Park, just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge) (Revised-04/18/13) 1856 Present white wooden frame dwelling with integral roof-mounted black lantern constructed by Charles Church. Illumination by whale oil lamps in 5th –order Fresnel lens. 1858 Light fueled by newly …

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Timeline: Assateague

(Located within Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague, VA) 1833 First brick tower, 45 foot tall, built. 1860 Construction of second and present tower begun. Work suspended during the Civil war. 1866-1867 Construction of 142 foot brick tower resumed and completed. Fitted with first-order Fresnel lens. Large keepers’ dwelling constructed. 1874 Life-saving station established three miles …

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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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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

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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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. 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

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 hoped to rebuild the lighthouse on land but …

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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 in …

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