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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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 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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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. 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 by …

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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 by …

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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

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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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

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

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 end …

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Great Wicomico River

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

(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

(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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