Due to increased river traffic along the York River, Congress appropriated $25,000 on March 3, 1891, to construct a lighthouse on a shoal which jutted out from Blundering Point, about 5 miles north of Yorktown, Virginia. After borings were made, it was determined that the river bottom was not firm enough to support a lighthouse on screwpiles. Engineers recommended driving wooden piles fitted with cast iron sleeves to a hard surface below the depth that screws could reach.
The superstructure was constructed at Lazaretto Depot and delivered on July 21, 1894, to the site by the lighthouse tenders Jessamine and Thistle. After arriving at the construction site, the workers constructed a working platform on 81 piles, which would support the construction of the lighthouse. The pile driver was then placed on the platform and the 7 wooden foundation piles were driven and fitted with the cast iron sleeves 6 foot below the surface of the shoal. After construction was completed, the working platform was removed, and several piles were left remaining above the water line to serve as ice breakers in the winter. On September 30, 1894, the light was exhibited for the first time.
The lighthouse was a white, hexagonal cottage with a black lantern equipped with a fourth-order Fresnel lens exhibiting a fixed white light. There was a Stevens machine operated fog bell which struck every 15 seconds.
The lighthouse was automated in 1960 and boarded up. In 1967 the lighthouse was dismantled, and an automated light was mounted on the top of a skeletal tower, which was attached to the remaining screwpile foundation. In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard removed the skeletal tower due to structural issues and the screwpile foundation was removed in 2015.
Head Keepers: Charles B. Bohannon (1893 – 1902), Claudious Sutton (1902 – 1931), John F. Riley (1931 – 1936), Frank R. Lewis (at least 1939 – at least 1940)
First Assistant: Richard W. Marchant (1893 – 1897), Claudious Sutton (1898 – 1901), Solomon P. Forbes (1901), Wilkes Bohaman (1901), Paul A. Boerschel (1901), Edward Oliver (1902), Temple Ripley (1902 – 1905), George Prichard (1905), James E. Oliver (1905 – 1907), Eugene S. Riley (1907 – 1913), Joseph T. Oliver (1913 – 1914), Harry O. Monsell (at least 1915), Eugene S. Riley (1915 – 1916), Frank L. Dixon (1916 – 1917), James A. Dudley (1917 – at least 1925), James A. Lupton (1922 – at least 1926), John F. Riley (1929 – 1931), Nelson H. Lewis (1931 – ), William A. Gibbs (1933 – 1936), Aubrey B. Hudgins, Jr. (at least 1939 – 1942), Joseph T. Oliver (1942 – 1943)
Second Assistant: J.A. Dudley (at least 1926), John F. Riley (1927 – 1929), Nelson H. Lewis (1930 – 1931), Bertman Parks (at least 1935 – at least 1937)
1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
2. Forgotten Beacons, Patrick Hornberger & Linda Turbyville, 1997.