Timeline: Lambert Point Lighthouse

1870: A request of $15,000 is made to construct a square lighthouse at Lambert’s Point on the east side of the Elizabeth River to mark a shoal just off the point.

1871: Congress appropriates $15,000 on March 3 to construct the square lighthouse on five piles with a fifth-order red light.

1873: The west side of the lighthouse settled 14 inches due to the unequal distribution of supplies and the soft nature of the river bottom. It was leveled by lowering the remaining screwpiles.

1885: The Norfolk and Western Railroad Company builds a large coal wharf extending from the shoreline to the lighthouse. Dredging for a new channel caused the lighthouse to settle 6 inches. Due to dense fog and a narrow channel, a light station and fog bell are necessary near the present location.

1886: Additional settlement of the lighthouse has occurred, and it is recommended to abandon the station when the Bush’s Bluff lighthouse is completed.

1887: It is reported that additional settlement has occurred, and the station should be abandoned.

1888: The foundation of the lighthouse has been weakened due to the extension of the Norfolk and Western Railroads coal piers near the structure.

1892: The Norfolk and Western Railroad build another storage shed which prevents vessels from even seeing the light. The lighthouse was discontinued on December 31. The lens, fog bell machinery, and supplies were removed from the station and stored at Lazaretto Depot, Maryland.

1901: The fog signal is reestablished at Lambert Point, Elizabeth River, Virginia, striking a single blow every 3-1/2 seconds.

1905: The fog bell and striking mechanism are replaced by a more efficient bell and machine, sounding at intervals of 10 seconds. The interval was then reduced to 5 seconds to avoid possible confusion with other signals in the area.

1907: A 1,000-pound bell is mounted on the lantern gallery of the old screwpile lighthouse.

1923: A hygroscopic controlling device for fog signals is implemented at Lambert Point Fog Signal Station, in connection with the 1,000-pound bell and electric fog bell striker.

1925: The bell is mounted on a brown, skeleton tower on the outer end of the pier of the Norfolk & Western Railroad.

1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.

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