Timeline: Bowlers Rock Lighthouse

1835: Lightship LV “O” is stationed in the Upper Rappahannock River approximately 8-1/2 miles downstream from the town of Tappahannock to mark a rock on the east side of the channel.

1861: Lightship LV “O” is captured by Confederate forces.

1864: Lightship LV-28 is stationed to replace the previous ship that was captured.

1867: The Lighthouse Board recommends building a screwpile structure to replace the current lightship.

1868: A rectangular screwpile lighthouse is erected to replace the light vessels and is lit for the first time on the evening of June 10, 1868 with a fifth order lens.

1870: In an inspection report, it was recommended to replace the 14-foot, flat bottom boat kept at the lighthouse with a larger one. It was also noted in the report that Keeper William Elmore, along with his wife Augusta P. Elmore, almost drowned because the boat was too small.

1895: The iron foundation is damaged by ice. It is recommended to place large amounts of heavy riprap stone in the same direction as the currents flow to act as ice breakers. A total of 270 cubic yards of stone is placed during July 1895.

1900: New model fifth-order lamps are installed, and miscellaneous repairs are made to the lighthouse.

1905: In August, 200 tons of riprap is placed around the lighthouse. Half is placed on top of the previous riprap, about 100 feet upstream from the lighthouse. The other half is placed around the upper ice-breaker pile of the lighthouse.

1918: The lighthouse is severely damaged by ice.

1920: The lighthouse is deactivated and dismantled.

1921: An acetylene light and automatic fog bell operated by carbon dioxide gas is placed near the original site. It is installed on a skeletal tower which rests on a small caisson structure.

1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
2. Forgotten Beacons, Patrick Hornberger & Linda Turbyville, 1997.
3. “Lighthouse Database Light Station Description.” Reflectors by Thomas Tag | US Lighthouse Society, uslhs.org/national_archives/bowlers_rock.htm.

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