Nine Historic Lighthouses in the United States
On August 7, 1789 the United States Congress had the bright idea to approve an act “for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers.” It only took two hundred years for Congress to have another bright idea—and in 1989 it passed a resolution to designate August 7th as National Lighthouse Day to celebrate the anniversary of the lighthouse act.
Originally erected to enhance safety and boost trade along our country’s coasts, lighthouses were once important landmarks and critical navigation aids, casting brilliant beams to guide ships safely to harbor through fog, storms and the dark of night. While modern technology has decommissioned most of these shoreline sentinels, the beacons hold a special place in American history. The tales and maritime mythology that surround them are fascinating lore, and the structures are iconic symbols of safe harbor.
Today many of these towers have been transformed into museums, parks and attractions that both celebrate and preserve maritime history. Many feature tours that offer you the chance to relive the past and enjoy the panoramic views that were once the sole domain of lighthouse keepers.
In celebration of National Lighthouse day, here’s a look at a few of the most historic lighthouses in the United States.
1. Boston Light—Little Brewster Island (outer Boston Harbor), Massachusetts
2. Chicago Harbor Light—Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois
Learn more: www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=234
3. Cape Romain Lighthouses—Lighthouse Island, South Carolina
Learn more: www.bullsislandferry.com/index.php?page=Cape-Romain-Lighthouses-Tour
First lit on November 1, 1887, the 175-ft. Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida. With eight of the ten original buildings erected on Ponce Inlet Light Station still standing, the site is one of the nation’s best preserved light stations. Visitors who make the 203-step trek to the top of the tower enjoy a spectacular view of Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet and on a clear day, even the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse.
Learn more: http://ponceinlet.org/index.cfm
5. Alcatraz Island Light—Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California
Learn more: www.alcatrazislandtickets.com/?gclid=COv0sbL-4bkCFUkS7AodtT8AKw
Situated at the entrance to St. James Harbor, on Lake Michigan’s largest island, the Beaver Island Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1870 to offer mariners refuge from hazardous weather. One of two lighthouses on Beaver Island, this 41-ft. round brick tower also been known as the St. James Harbor Light and Whiskey Point Light. The original structure included light keeper’s quarters that were torn down in 1956, but its light is still active.
Learn more: www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=206
7. Point Arena Lighthouse—Point Arena, California, Pacific Ocean
Learn more: www.pointarenalighthouse.com
8. Biloxi Lighthouse—Biloxi, Mississippi, Gulf of Mexico
Learn more: www.biloxi.ms.us/museums/biloxilighthouse
9. Port Isabel Lighthouse—Port Isabel, Texas
Learn more: portisabellighthouse.com/lighthouse