September 16, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses



11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses


Have you ever wished you could live in a lighthouse? If so, this is the time to buy this unique type of real estate:

Technological advances and a desire to purge unneeded properties have paved the way for the federal government to get rid of more than 100 lighthouses over the last 14 years, and it intends to keep selling and giving them away. The sold lighthouses, located on both coasts and in the Great Lakes states, have become everything from museums to bed-and-breakfasts.

Dave Waller, who purchased the Graves Island Light Station in the mouth of Boston Harbor for a record $933,888 last year,

Sixty-eight of the lighthouses have gone for free to preservationists while 36 others sold at public auction thanks to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, which allows the government to dispose of federally-owned lighthouses. The act turns 14 next month. The Coast Guard, which maintains lighthouses, has 71 other lighthouses queued up to go through the transfer process, and four are at auction now.

But what do you know about lighthouses? Below are 11 questions on lighthouses (watch for the future quiz limited to New England lighthouses).


  1. Which United States state has the most lighthouses?
  2. Henry Hall, the keeper at Eddystone in Great Britain, was the oldest known lighthouse keeper. How old was he and what happened to him?
  3. What was the first U.S. lighthouse to use electricity?
  4. What uniqueness can the America’s St. George’s Reef Lighthouse in California claim?
  5. What were the first Great Lakes’ lighthouses?
  6. When and where were the first electric lamps used in lighthouses?
  7. What is the world’s first known lighthouse?
  8. How many female lighthouse keepers were there in the United States in 1852?
  9. What caused many lighthouse keepers to go mad after they served years of duty
  10. The United States is home to more lighthouses than any other country. Where is its newest U.S. lighthouse located? What is the oldest active U.S. lighthouse?


List four facts about the La Coruna Lighthouse. Located on the northwest tip of Spain, it marks the entrance of Spain’s La Coruña harbor.



To learn the answers click on MORE…

Beaver Tail Lighthouse taken from the boat

Beaver Tail Lighthouse taken from the boat


  1. Henry Hall at age 94.  During a fire in the lighthouse, he ingested  1/2 lb. of lead and died about two weeks later.****
  2. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. From its opening in 1886 until its deactivation as a lighthouse in 1902, its torch carried an electric light that was visible for 24 miles.***
  3. It was the most expensive to build: its ten-year construction cost $715,000**
  4. The Erie Land Light in Erie, Pennsylvania, and the Buffalo Light in Buffalo, New York, both established in 1818. Neither of the original towers remain, though both sites still contain active lighthouses.***
  5. In England in South Foreland in 1858, and in Dungeness, in 1862. They used arc lamps.  Electric lamps were constantly improved, and today, many use a xenon discharge light, which gives off bright light. Up until about the 15th century, wood was the main source of fire for these early lighthouses. In the 15th century, coal became commonplace, as it burned slower and made better light.  Candles were used in some, starting around 1540. Oil was then a common source of fuel for the lamps. ****
  6. The Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt—completed about 280 B.C. It stood more than 350 feet tall until an earthquake destroyed it in the 1300s.*** It was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.** It was the world’s tallest and had the largest beacon ever built.***
  7. Lighthouse keeping was one of the first government jobs available to women, going back to the 19th century.^^ Kate Walker, a widow, whose husband had been the keeper of the light at Robbins Reef in New York Harbor, rescued more than 50 fishers in distress over the years. In addition to maintaining the lighthouse, she raised two sons, rowing them a mile each day to Staten Island to attend school.****
  8. Mercury vapor lights posed a problem of mercury poisoning, and the mercury was thought to keepers to go mad.****
  9. Sullivans Island, South Carolina, is the location of the Charleston Light, completed in 1962. The rather strange-looking triangular structure is also the only U.S. lighthouse with an elevator and air-conditioning.*** The Sandy Hook Light at Gateway National Recreation Area in Fort Hancock, New Jersey. It first lit the night in 1764.***


It is the world’s oldest working lighthouse

The Romans built it early in the second century A.D.

It’s also called the Tower of Hercules.***

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.^^

 Taken while driving over the Jamestown Bridge

Taken while driving over the Jamestown Bridge



August 7th: A Celebration of Lighthouses Part A

Lighthouse Cruise on Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island

Lighthouse Beach in Chatham on Cape Cod, MA








  1. Interesting info. I’ve always thought Light houses were mysterious… 🙂

    Comment by merry101 — September 16, 2014 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  2. We took a tour of a Great Lakes light house when visiting in Ohio several years ago.
    That light house cruise in RI sounds interesting

    Comment by Grace (&Fred) — September 17, 2014 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

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