The rare photo, shown here, is what we believe to be the construction of the lantern and upper portions of the Cape Charles Lighthouse in Virginia and the Hog Island Lighthouse, also in Virginia. The photo, sent to us by Robert J. Lewis, Jr., was most likely taken at the factory where upper portions of the lighthouses were built before they would have been shipped to their lighthouse sites.
The 191-foot tall Cape Charles Lighthouse is the tallest of its type in the nation and the second tallest lighthouse overall in the United States. The Cape Charles Lighthouse keeper’s house was destroyed in a brush fire in 2009. The lighthouse still stands and is painted all white. The first order Fresnel lens that was once in the tower is now on display at the Newport Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
Sadly, the Hog Island Lighthouse no longer stands. In 1948, when the lighthouse was threatened by erosion, the U.S. Coast Guard planted explosive charges at its base, and upon denotation, the tower came crashing down in a tangled pile of twisted steel. Today, Hog Island is gone, submerged beneath the water. The first order Fresnel lens that was once in the Hog Island Lighthouse is now on display in a pavilion on the Elizabeth River waterfront in Portsmouth, Virginia.
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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