Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
History of Cape Henry Lighthouse
In 1789, the first congress of the United States at their first session enacted a law to establish a lighthouse on Cape Henry near the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. President George Washington
Two acres of land on Cape Henry were ceded by the State of Virginia to the federal government and a contract was concluded to erect and equip the lighthouse. The contractor had serious problems transporting the sandstone used in the construction of the ninety foot tower. However, the stone has a special significance since it came from the same Aquia, Virginia quarries that provided stone or Mount Vernon, the U.S. Capitol, and the White House. In 1791, the lighthouse was completed at a cost of $17,500. Whale oil (later kerosene) was burned for illumination, first in an "iron lanthorn", then in Argand lamps with metal reflectors.
In 1861, the light was damaged by Civil War fighting. The first lightship was put into service between Cape Henry and Cape Charles in 1861. It continued until 1863, when the lighthouse was repaired and service was restored. The light continued to shine until 1881 when it was replaced by the modern lighthouse nearby which is still in use today.
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
Location. 36° 55.54′ N, 76° 0.486′ W. Marker is in Fort Story Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Virginia Beach VA 23451, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Public Works Project of the United States Government (a few steps from this marker); First Landing (a few steps from this marker); Old Cape Henry Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); British Naval Blockade and Cape Henry Lighthouse / The War of 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Story (within shouting distance of this marker); Cape Henry Railroads (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of the Capes 1781 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cape Henry Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Story.
Also see . . .
1. Cape Henry Lighthouse. Preservation Virginia (Submitted on June 3, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
2. Cape Henry Lighthouse, National Register of Historic Places (pdf file). (Submitted on August 19, 2019.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • War, US Civil • War, US Revolutionary • Waterways & Vessels •
More. Search the internet for History of Cape Henry Lighthouse.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 22, 2019. This page originally submitted on June 3, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 694 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 3, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 6. submitted on June 3, 2013.