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In 1589 St Augustine Had The 1st US Lighthouse. It Was Rebuilt In Oct. 1874

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Observed annually on August 7, National Lighthouse Day honors the beacon of light that for hundreds of years symbolized safety and security for ships and boats at sea.  At one time, the beacon of light could be found across almost all of America’s shorelines.

  • A lighthouse is described as a tower, building or any other type of structure that is designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.
  • The number of lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance. Modern electric navigational systems are replacing them.
  • Development accelerated in the 17th century with Britain’s Trinity House constructing its first in 1609.
  • In North America, St. Augustine, Florida built the first lighthouse. Printed on a 1791 map, it had been built by Menendez after his landing in 1586.
  • In 1871 it soon became evident that this first St. Augustine Lighthouse tower was doomed to fall into the ocean. The US Congress appropriated $100,000 funding for a new lighthouse during the Florida Reconstruction Period. The U.S. Lighthouse Service began construction on a new 165-foot tower in 1871 and did not finish until 1874.
  • On October 15, 1874, lighthouse keeper William R. Russell lit the oil lamp inside the new, first-order Fresnel lens for the first time.
  • The current lighthouse tower is 145 years old in October 2019
  • Boston Light built on little Brewster Island next in 1716.
  • The oldest existing lighthouse in the United States is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey.  Built in 1764, this lighthouse is still in operation.
  • At the end of the 19th century, the United States had the most lighthouses of any nation.
  • The 9th Act of the first Congress created the US Bureau of Lighthouses in 1789, which placed lighthouses under federal control.
  • The United States Coast Guard took over on July 7, 1939.
  • Hobbyists enjoy visiting and photographing lighthouses. They also collect ceramic replicas.
  • The first lighthouse was Egypt‘s Pharos of Alexandria, built in the third century BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria was made from a fire on a platform to signal the port entrance. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for many centuries.
  • The world’s oldest existing lighthouse is considered to be Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marks the entrance of Spain‘s La Coruña harbor. The lighthouse, which was erected in the first century, is still operational.
  • The tallest lighthouse in the world is the Jeddah Light, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – 133 meters. Jeddah Light is a concrete and steel lighthouse built in 1990. It is located in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and marks the end of the outer pier on the north side of the entrance to the city’s seaport. It has a range of 46 kilometers and emits three white flashes every 20 seconds.
  • The most expensive lighthouse built in America is St. George Reef, near Crescent City, California. It took 10 years to construct and cost $715,000.
  • NEWEST SHORESIDE LIGHTHOUSE is Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, SC, 1962.
  • THE ONLY LIGHTHOUSE EQUIPPED WITH AN ELEVATOR is Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, SC
  • FIRST AMERICAN-BUILT WEST COAST LIGHTHOUSE was Alcatraz Island, 1854.
  • Lightships were employed where the water was too deep to construct a lighthouse or it was impracticable. The first lightships were located in the lower Chesapeake Bay (1820) and the most stations were in 1915 when there were 72 lightships manning 55 stations.
  • Towers are given special (painted) patterns — diamond shapes, spirals, stripes, etc. — or colors to distinguish them from each other. These patterns were known as daymarks.
  • THE FIRST AMERICAN LIGHTHOUSE TO USE ELECTRICITY was the Statue of Liberty in 1886.
  • In 1881, an ice floe forced the Sharp’s Island Lighthouse off its foundations, after which it floated nearly five miles down the Chesapeake with its keepers still inside until it ran aground, allowing the men to escape unharmed. – Source
  • The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery (Scotland) is the mystery where all three Lighthouse keepers on a remote island vanished. The logs found to reference a brutal storm that lasted days, even though a neighboring island that had a view of the Lighthouse reported calm weather. – Source
  • Russia has hundreds of nuclear-powered lighthouses and beacons along the Northern Shipping Route. – Source

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Just Fun Facts

US Light House Society

Kickass Facts

St. Augustine Lighthouse