Timeline: Newport News Middle Ground

(Located at the confluence of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, Newport News, VA. Oldest caisson lighthouse in Virginia. Revised 04/04/18.)

1891 56-foot tall caisson with tower and cast-iron lantern built on L-shaped Middle Ground shoal. Five levels with basement in the top of the caisson. Fitted with 4th-order Fresnel lens and fog bell.

1896- 1899 John Filmore Hudgins serves as keeper.

1954 Automation. Keeper and assistant leave. Light & fog bell characteristic changed. Light downgraded to a “second-class tall nun buoy”.

1979 Ship hits lighthouse, damaging lower portion of caisson.

1982 Coast Guard inspects lighthouse- general repairs made.

1986-1987 Solar panels added. Light moved to a pole outside of tower.

1988 Coast Guard sandblasts, paints & does repairs. Deterioration of lighthouse continues.

1992 CG inspection reveals extensive corrosion of foundation.

2000 CG replaces white light with more powerful red lamp and moves light back inside tower.

2003 Lighthouse becomes available for ownership under the provisions of the NHLPA.

2005 Lighthouse sold to Robert and Joan Gonsoulin of Williamsburg, VA and Dan and Jackie Billingsley of Annapolis, MD for $31,000. Buyers invest approximately $200,000 to convert lighthouse to vacation home. Light remains active aid to navigation.

Note: This off-shore lighthouse can be seen from the King-Lincoln Park at the southern end of Jefferson Avenue in Newport News, Virginia.

Source: Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville, Chapter website www.cheslights.org; the Lighthouse Directory (http:www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/Va.htm) and April 2016 edition of Coastal Living magazine.

Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/timeline-newport-news-middle-ground/