Timeline: Jordan Point Lighthouse

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 Point Lighthouse, a white, two-story house with a red lantern extending through the roof.

1855: Jordan Point Lighthouse is completed and equipped with a small, sixth-order lens. It is first exhibited on February 7, 1855.

1865: After being damaged during the Civil War, the lighthouse is repaired and re-established.

1869: A new fog bell is supplied to replace the old fog bell that was cracked. The house, outbuildings, fences and bell tower are painted.

1874: The U. S. Lighthouse Board reports that the beach on the upper side of Jordan Point is rapidly eroding. It is recommended to place loose stones at the point and replace the hand-operated fog bell with machinery operated fog bell, which would require a change in the bell tower. A request of $2,000 is made for the work.

1875: Congress appropriates $2,000 on March 3, 1875, for protecting the site at Jordan Point and constructing a fog bell. A new stone wall, six feet thick at the bottom and backed with soil is added to the site. A new bell tower is constructed for the machine operated fog bell. A new light is placed on a new structure not far from the original location on August 23, 1875.

1887: Bids for constructing a new lighthouse and removing the old lighthouse begin on September 18, 1887. A contract is made for $3,449 and construction of the new keeper’s dwelling and square, pyramidal wooden fog bell is completed in January 1888. The lantern was placed on top of the fog bell tower.

1892: The U. S. Lighthouse Board reports that erosion to the lower side of Jordan’s Point is still an issue. It is proposed to take additional measures to prevent further destruction of the station.

1893: Improvements to the station began in June to protect the site from further erosion. Sheet piles 3-inches by 12-inches by 10 feet, backed by oak and pine piles are driven into the ground and connected by 6-inch by 12-inch cap logs and 4-inch by 8-inch string pieces where the sheet piles are connected. The total length of shore protection is 279 feet on the east side and 133 feet on the west side. Minor repairs are also made to the station.

1899: Various repairs are made to the fog bell tower and keeper’s dwelling. The piers under the tower were painted, one pier was reconstructed, and another pier was reinforced. A plank walkway was constructed between the dwelling and storehouse and brick pavement in front of the keeper’s dwelling was repaired.

1900: A red sector was installed in the light on June 30, 1900.

1914: Jordan Point Front Range Light was established on February 27, 1914. This light consisted of a fixed, red oil light on a 3-pile structure, 14 feet above the water. The Front Range Light was 1,300 yards from the existing wooden tower that would now become Jordan Point Rear Range Light.

1927: The keeper’s dwelling and property are sold for $1,105 except for the small plot where the Lighthouse stood.

1941: A white skeletal tower is constructed to replace the wooden tower, which now serves as Jordan Point Rear Range Light.

1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
2. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of Finances, various years.

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