Tail of the Horseshoe Station


LV-71 as marked while on the Diamond Shoals Station.      USCG photo

LV-46 in January 1913 on Tail of the Horseshoe station .  USCG photo

Tail of the Horseshoe, 1901-1922

As early as 1895, petitions were being made to Congress from steamship lines running out of Baltimore, MD, Norfolk, and Newport News, VA., to place a lightship at to mark shoals at The Tail of the Horseshoe. The Tail of the Horseshoe Shoal was an extensive shoal that extended approximately 8 miles southeast from Hampton on the Virginia shore. Congress approved the request on February 18, 1899. The lightships were placed at the eastern end of the shoal to mark the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, approximately 3 miles from Cape Henry, Virginia.


On October 15, 1900, lightship LV-71 was temporarily placed in position until June 1901. This 122-foot long, 590-ton steel-framed, composite hull vessel was powered by steam. It was built in 1897 at Bath Iron Works, Maine at a cost of $70,000. The two masts were fitted with a cluster of three electric lens lanterns.

On June 22, 1901, lightship LV-46 was placed at the station in 33-feet of water. This 337-ton, the 124-foot-long schooner was built in 1887 by Houston & Woodbridge, in Linwood, PA. at a price of $60,000. The iron hull was wrapped with yellow pine. The two masts were equipped with two lanterns, each with 8 oil lamps and reflectors.

From 1901 to 1911 LV-46 was painted yellow while on this light station.  The local Lighthouse district deemed this necessary to help mariners see the light vessel.  Officially the color it was painted was called “Straw”, but the local population called it the Canary Light Vessel.  There are numerous newspaper articles between these dates which refer to the light vessel as such.  It was one of 23 light vessels and lightships in the United States between 1853 and 1940 that was ever painted that distinctive color and the only one inside the Chesapeake Bay.

On January 4, 1918, the vessel was carried off the station by moving ice. It was later picked up and towed back to the station two days later, on January 6, 1918.

LV-46 remained at the Tail of the Horseshoe until 1922 when the station was discontinued. The vessel was retired from duty in 1923.

Crew Members: Walter S. Barnett (1906-1913), William Mullen (1913), Anelius Anderson (1914-1915), Anelius Anderson, Master (1915-1922), George B. Reynolds (1915), Benjamin L. Harris (1915-1917), Ernst Brownley (1917-1918), Robert A. Dixon (1918-1919), Luther Muse (1919), George K. Rollinson (1919-1920), James Lofton (1920-1922)

Updated 3/14/2021





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