National Lighthouse Day

LIghthouse wood art from The Brush Factory on Kings
Our favorite lighthouse art from The Brush Factory on Kings, Lewes DE

It was on this day in 1789, that Congress approved an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouse, beacons, buoys and public piers. In Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the Act and the commissioning of the first Federal lighthouse, Congress passed a resolution which designated August 7, 1989 as National Lighthouse Day. Here is the text of the Act.

We all know of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, originally located on the sandy bluff at the Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, sadly lost to the waves in April 1926, but did you know its history?

The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse

Built in 1767 with money raised from a series of lotteries in Philadelphia, the lighthouse was made of stone brought down from the Brandywine River north of Wilmington, Del., near the Pennsylvania border.

The tower was 26 feet in diameter, 6 feet thick at the base, 69 feet, 3 inches tall, and 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter and 3 feet thick at the top. It was built on the north side of the Great Dune, 46 feet above sea level, to obtain additional height.

Because the dune moved 3 to 5 feet a year, it eventually claimed the lighthouse. When it collapsed, it is said many local residents went to the site to collect the stone for fireplaces and chimneys. Do you have some of these stones in your Rehoboth Beach vacation rental house?

Lighthouses started along the North Atlantic coast, and on the Peninsula, stretch from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland through coastal Delaware.

Some of them are the round, cottage style, while others tower upward to at least 100 feet. Some of the beacons of light for boaters date to the 1700s and are open for tours.

Delaware was home to some of the country’s first lighthouses and where new technology and techniques were tested.

What is your favorite style and location of lighthouse? I’m partial to the round, cottage style lighthouse which always makes me think of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and the rich history of seafaring life. Here’s some information on the Thomas Point Shoal Light – an example of the classic Chesapeake Bay cottage style lighthouse.

Thomas Point Shoal Light, Chesapeake Bay

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