Timeline: Old Cape Henry Lighthouse

(Located at Fort Story, northern end of Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA) (Active Military base – Identification, Insurance proof, vehicle search required) (Revised – 03/25/2013)

1791-1792 Ninety-foot tall octagonal tower of sandstone built by John McComb,
Jr. of New York for $17,700. First federal works project and first
lighthouse built by US government.

1792 Laban Goffigan appointed first keeper.

1835 New keeper’s dwelling constructed.

1841 Lantern replaced with new lamps and reflectors.

1855 Fog bell tower constructed.

1857 Reflecting apparatus replaced by second-order Fresnel lens. Tower
lined with brick.

1861 Tower seized by Confederate troops. Lens & lamp destroyed.

1863 Union troops regain control of light and resume active service.

1864 Wooden stairs replaced by cast-iron spiral staircase.

1872 Large cracks appear on tower sides.

1881 New 163 foot tall, cast-iron tower constructed 350 feet southeast of
old tower. Jay Edwards, last keeper of the old tower appointed first
keeper. Old tower deactivated.

1930 Old tower deeded to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia

1953 Old tower damaged by Hurricane Barbara, but repaired.

2002 Lantern room renovated for easier access.

2003 U.S. Post Office issues set of five Atlantic South East Coastal
commemorative lighthouse stamps including Old Cape Henry. Sandstone foundation repaired.

2011 Earthquake creates cracks in tower – damage not serious.

Source: Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville, APVA and Lighthouse Directory  – http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/va.htm.

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