White Shoal

White Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1855 and was one of three screwpiles lighted on February 6 in the James River. The lighthouse was located below Sandy Point on the lower end of the shoal and on the right side of the main channel heading upriver near Newport News, Virginia. It was built to replace a day beacon that had been constructed in 1854. It was a hexagonal screwpile built similar to the Deep Water Shoal and Point of Shoals lighthouses. The cottage was painted white and the roof and iron foundation was red. The light consisted of a large, pressed-glass masthead lens. Confederates raided this lighthouse during the Civil War.
The lighthouse was poorly constructed and by 1869 was leaning to one side and deemed unsafe. It was completely rebuilt in 1871 and given a fifth order Fresnel lens and a fog bell.

The lighthouse was sold and discontinued in 1934. An automated light on a steel skeleton tower was placed near the original light the same year.

White Shoal Light survived until the 1970s when it was carried off by ice flows. It had outlasted all the other lighthouses in the James River by many years.

Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.


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