Timeline: Chesapeake Light Tower

(Located 13 miles east of Virginia Beach, 14.5 miles ESE of Cape Henry, VA) (Revised – 03/26/2013)

1888-1965 Five Light vessels and LV-116/WAL-538 Chesapeake (1933 to 1965)
mark the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

1965 Chesapeake decommissioned. New, ultra modern lighthouse, an
adaptation of an offshore oil drilling platform first used off Texas
coast, is constructed by the Tidewater-Raymond-Kiewit Company of
Norfolk, the same company building the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge-
Tunnel. Light is 117 feet above the Bay. A rotating crew of six CG
keepers maintain the 6,000,000 candlepower, dual-intensity xenon
light. Tower light 37 feet above helicopter deck. Light visible 24
miles. Fog signal – 10 miles. Radio beacon – 70 miles. Cost – $1.7
million. Dubbed “Coast Guard Hilton”.

May 1980 Three-phased automation process begins. Phase I-automatic
equipment installed & tested.

July 1980 Phase II – Automation power room built.

Sept.1980 Phase III – Windows secured. Security latches installed and excess
equipment removed.

1989 Coast Guard paints tower. CG crew leaves.

2002-2003 Graduate students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
conduct NASA satellite testing (ground truthing) and research from
lighthouse. Lighthouse remains active aid to navigation.

2004 Coast Guard considers decommissioning and dismantling lighthouse.
Performs inspection, declares tower structurally sound. Light remains
in active service.

2013 U.S. Department of Energy announces plans to use station as a
platform for wind energy testing.

Source: Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville, Lighting the Bay: Tales of Chesapeake Lighthouses by Pat Vojtech, Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations of Virginia by Patrick Evans-Hylton, Lighthouse Directory – http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/va.htm and Buffalo News, November 17, 2002.

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