Near Chincoteague Island in Accomack County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Still Shining…After All These Years
The Lighthouse Grows...and Gets Its Stripes
Built in 1833, the first Assateague Lighthouse was just 45 feet high, less than a third the height of the building before you. Eleven small fish oil lamps provided all the light, so it was not completely effective as a warning to sailors.
The Current lighthouse, built in 1866 and 1867, is 142 feet tall and rooted in the sand by a foundation that is 12 feet deep. The stripes were not added until 1963.
Turn Up the Light
For many years, a Fresnel lens focused the light of a single, 4-wick fish oil lamp. Then, in 1963, the oil lamp was replaced by an automated electric lamp, which creates a double flash every 5 seconds.
The Wreck of the President's Yacht
Shipwrecks were common along this coast, and staff from several lifesaving stations on Assateague Island saved many lives over the years. The most famous occurred in 1891, when President Benjamin Harrison's official yacht, the Despatch, wrecked. Staff from a lifesaving station about a mile south of here saved the entire crew.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #23 Benjamin Harrison, and the Lighthouses series lists.
Location. 37° 54.669′ N, 75° 21.375′ W. Marker is near Chincoteague Island, Virginia, in Accomack County. Marker can be reached from Beach Access Road north of Boat Ramp Access Road, on the right when traveling south. Public access only via short Lighthouse Trail footpath. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chincoteague Island VA 23336, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Assateague Light House (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Assateague Village (a few steps from this marker); The Wild Ponies (approx. half a mile away); Keeping the Forest Full of Life (approx. 1.1 miles away); Christ Sanctified Holy ChurchCaptain Timothy Hill House (approx. 2½ miles away); Welcome to the NASA Visitor Center (approx. 5.8 miles away); NASA Wallops Flight Facility (approx. 5.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chincoteague Island.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 248 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on October 17, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.